Over the past several decades, consumers in New York and across the nation have shown a growing preference for SUVs and large trucks over traditional passenger sedans. This is due in part to marketing efforts arguing that bigger cars offer better protection for the people driving and riding inside of them. While this may be true, what is also true is the fact that, the larger a vehicle is, the more of a threat it is to pedestrians, cyclists and anyone else not riding inside of it.
According to Slate, it was back in 2002 that the sales of large, heavy trucks and SUVs first outpaced the sales of smaller, more traditional passenger cars.
How vehicle size impacts cyclist, pedestrian deaths
While SUV sales rose over the past several decades, the number of pedestrian deaths occurring across New York and the rest of the United States grew alongside them. Pedestrian deaths reached a 40-year high in 2021, and cyclist deaths also climbed, increasing by 44% between 2010 and 2020. Some of the increase in pedestrian and cyclist deaths is likely the result of the uptick in large vehicle sales. Larger vehicles strike crash victims higher up on their bodies and are more likely to cause internal or other serious injuries than smaller vehicles.
What some communities are doing to enhance safety
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has begun making efforts to increase awareness about the dangers large vehicles create for bicyclists and pedestrians, publishing a report about these dangers in 2020. Some communities in other parts of the world have also begun charging drivers more to register large vehicles than smaller ones.
Sales figures of large trucks and SUVs continue to grow steadily, with four out of every five vehicles sold in the United States now a large truck or SUV.