Vehicles Are Becoming Bigger and Deadlier

Vehicles Are Becoming Bigger and DeadlierIt is no secret that people love their large trucks and SUVs. Sales for larger vehicles have soared over the past decade or so, as Americans cram more and more of their lives into their cars. Between shopping at warehouse-style stores and toting around sports equipment for the kids, we need – and want – a lot of space in our vehicles.

This has led manufacturers to give their customers what they want, which is bigger and taller vehicles. But according to an article published by The Verge, “crashes involving vehicles with hood heights that are 40 inches or higher are 45 percent more likely to result in a fatality as compared to vehicles with hood heights that are 30 inches or less with a sloping profile.” This information comes straight from a recent study conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), which points out that “vehicles with especially tall front ends are most dangerous to pedestrians.”

However, hood height is not the only concern for these researchers. Wider, “more vertical” front ends pose a risk to road users who are on foot as well. The data shows that collisions with vehicles with wide hoods are 44 percent more likely to result in pedestrian deaths, making them just about as dangerous as those with tall hoods. The IIHS President, David Harkey, commented on the recently found data by saying, “These results tell us our instincts are correct: More aggressive-looking vehicles can indeed do more harm.”

While buyers may not have realized just how much bigger vehicles have become over the years, the research shows that in the last three decades alone, many have gained almost a foot in length, more than half a foot in height, and four inches in width. To make matters worse, vehicles have also gained a whopping 1,000 pounds in the last few decades. This means that anyone who is struck by these bulky vehicles does not stand much of a chance of surviving.

A Senior Research Transportation Engineer at IIHS who led the study is calling on manufacturers to put an end to this problem “by lowering the front end of the hood and angling the grille and hood to create a sloped profile.” He concludes his argument by pointing out that there is no real purpose or positive reason for these tall and wide vehicle noses, meaning that vehicle purchasers do not need them.

How do collisions with larger vehicles increase the risk of catastrophic injury?

Most people who own these large vehicles do not think much about it. They drive their SUVs and trucks around Tulsa, secure in the knowledge that their family is safe. But the very features which they believe protect them inside the car can cause devastating trauma to anyone (or anything) outside of it:

  • Head, skull, and brain injuries: Individuals who are hit by these hefty vehicles are very likely to suffer various head, skull, and brain injuries. This typically includes traumatic brain injuries and skull fractures, which are extremely serious injuries that can kill you instantly. If a person is able to survive these types of injuries they will likely experience long-term effects such as memory loss, concentration problems, excruciating headaches, vision issues, and more. Traumatic brain injuries and skull fractures have the ability to permanently alter the cells within the brain, and pedestrians, cyclists, and motorcycle riders are at particular risk of being struck directly in the head.
  • Torso injuries: Your torso covers and protects several of your most vital organs. When a person is hit by a larger truck or SUV with a squared-off grille, that person’s body can actually wrap around the front of it, instead of sliding over the hood. Some of the most severe and traumatic injuries that can occur within the torso are broken ribs, abdominal injuries, pelvic injuries, and hip injuries.
  • Paralysis: Paralysis occurs when your brain is unable to communicate and send nerve signals to your muscles or body parts, resulting in loss of movement and function. Some people may only experience paralysis in one arm or leg (monoplegia), in both legs (paraplegia) or in their entire body (quadriplegia). Paralysis can be caused by the body being wrapped around the front of the car, or by being dragged under it.
  • Internal organ damage: When a person’s torso sustains extreme force or impact, they are likely to suffer internal organ damage. Some of the most common organs that experience damage are the heart, lungs, kidneys, and the liver. These are vital organs – literally – and severe damage to any one of them can cause death. If a person survives, he or she may need an organ transplant.
  • Internal bleeding: Internal bleeding is typically caused when a person experiences blunt force trauma that causes their blood vessels to burst, or when the vessels become lacerated and the blood begins to collect within the body. This can turn into a deadly situation quickly, which is why most individuals need immediate medical surgery to determine the source of the bleed and repair it.

It is important to keep in mind that adult pedestrians are not the only ones suffering from the effects of tall and wide vehicles. Many truck and SUV owners are running over children because they say that they cannot see them even if they are directly in front of their vehicles. Childhood injuries can actually worsen over time, especially those affecting the spinal cord, brain, or growth plates.

If you or a family member was recently struck by a vehicle in Tulsa, the pedestrian accident attorneys at Biby Law Firm are ready and available to assist you. We know that you are likely recovering from catastrophic injuries due to this type of accident, which is why we vow to handle the ins and outs of your claim while you focus solely on healing. Please call our office or submit our contact form if you are interested in scheduling a free case review and learning about your legal options today. Our team looks forward to meeting you and helping you navigate your case successfully.