Passenger car drivers are seven times more likely to be killed in a crash with an SUV

Friday, November 19th, 2021

The problem with electric trucks is that they’re big and even heavier than their gas-powered counterparts:

Between 2000 and 2019, the average weight of vehicles involved in a fatal crash increased by 11%.


Their increasingly flat fronts and tall hoods create front blind zones two to three times larger than a sedan’s; one experiment sat 18 children in front of an SUV, and all were fully hidden from the driver by the massive hood. This exacerbates the risk of “frontover collisions,” in which a vehicle moving forward slowly hits a person the driver can’t see. Most frontover collision victims are between one and two-years-old, and the vast majority of frontover fatalities since the 1990s have involved an SUV, van or light truck. A recent study in the Economics of Transportation estimates that if between 2000 and 2019 all light trucks were replaced with cars, more than 8,000 pedestrians would still be alive today.


A study from the University at Buffalo concluded that passenger car drivers are seven times more likely to be killed in a crash with an SUV, partially due to the ability of the SUV to roll over the smaller car (a phenomenon unfortunately named “bumper mismatch”).


  1. Roo_Ster says:

    The EPA and NHTSA and government can pass laws and regulations, but the laws of physics reign supreme. These sorts of articles are just more hate on rural and suburban white folks.

    Part of the problem is that government regs have forced auto makers to build autos with higher, blunter hoods that block vision…in an attempt to make front collisions easier on pedestrians. The laws of unintended consequences and the gods of copy book headings will have their tribute.

  2. Bill says:

    The other way to express “bumper mismatch” is to demand “uniform bumper height”, one of the simple, easy improvements that traditional automotive engineers have known about for generations.

    But then car designers would be frustrated in their efforts to make this year’s model look new and different.

  3. Jim says:

    Someone should look into why trucks are so much larger now than they were when they were actually used to do things.

    Why does the SUV even exist? Is it just a van for people who don’t want to admit that they need a van?

  4. jbp says:

    Yes yes and yes to jim

  5. lucklucky says:

    I believe that SUV’s exist because people are afraid of accidents.
    So when a higher vehicle that worked like a car appeared people started to buy it because it gives them more appearance of safety by being higher, it also gives them more visibility in transit when other are cars.

  6. Jim says:


    We should force them all to ride motorbikes.

    “This is a shitpost,” you’re thinking. Nope.

    I mean it.

    I’ll make the borderline-obese 50 year-old should-be-a-grandmother-but-isn’t suburban woman ride a motorbike everywhere.

    Don’t think I won’t.

  7. Harry Jones says:

    If everyone is forced to ride motorbikes, the Harleys will be running the Vespas off the road.

    Where there is scarcity, there is competition. Where there is competition, there is inequality. There just isn’t enough road. Pave the earth!

  8. Bill says:

    Re @luckylucky “I believe that SUV’s exist because people are afraid of accidents.”

    SUVs exist because Americans, especially women, will pay an extra $10K to have a big vehicle that is NOT a soccer mom minivan.

    See also research that shows that broad, curved, soft interior surfaces and lots of cup-holders for warm, milk-based beverages is very appealing to a certain kind of person.

    Also, on a practical level, SUVs were invented in Michigan, which spends less per capita on its roads than any other state. The ideal Michigan vehicle is an “off-road” vehicle, because the roads are so bad you might as well be driving on a forest logging trail.

  9. Harry Jones says:

    Roads in the rural north are unmaintainable. The frost heaves tear them to pieces every winter.

    I used to live in that sort of area. I learned to buy vehicles that could handle it. You do what works.

    Also, many locals resist paving of dirt roads because they like the traffic calming effect of a bad road. People who live in rural areas like things rural. Who would have guessed?

    A larger vehicle fares better in a collision with a moose. The moose, however, fares worse.

  10. Jim says:

    Three words:




  11. Mike-SMO says:

    The discussion ignores “size”, mine and the vehicle’s. I am 6’2″. “Automobiles” met efficiency and fuel standards by becoming smaller and lower. Last time I shopped for an automobile, one option was out since i couldn’t get my legs under the steering wheel. Another had my head wedged against the roof. Getting in and out of many automobiles requires a flexibility that I no longer have.

    SUVs are upright and have more interior room. I can get in, and sit nomally without having to intrude into the rear passenger’s space. Handling isn’t too bad although they clearly are not a “sports car”.

    The extra ground clearance comes in handy on unimproved roads and with snow plow berms. I ended up helping a friend get free after bottoming out a conventional automobile while trying to get out of a driveway.

    The configuration of the hood is the least of my worries. “Bumper Mismatch” is not a real design concern since most “bumpers” are an internal construction with a cosmetic facing. There is no real need to have the exterior profile match the location of the internal structure. After any impact, you are going to be replacing a lot of plastic anyway.

  12. Eli says:

    SUVs exist because the EPA steadfastly insists that station wagon MPG be the same as the sedan body its based on. The EPA insists that SUVs are “light trucks” and applies light-truck mileage and performance standards to them. All that needs to be done is to not apply the tax for excess MPG on the station wagon platforms.

    It is incredible to me, how much gas consumption is increased in the US due to the proliferation of automatic transmissions and SUVs. Not to mention the topic of safety addressed here in this post.

  13. Harry Jones says:

    A station wagon is a half-assed SUV.

    An SUV is a station wagon done right.

  14. A Texan says:

    As pointed out above, we can’t have anything cool or nice to drive because of the ideologues at the EPA trying to repeal the laws of physical reality. And with all the plastic, and electronic wiring, all they did was move the pollution from air to some other area like landfill or lack of recycling. All those extra parts that wear out to make the car ‘less polluting’ have to be replaced and thrown out somewhere.

    Here is a company that makes old style Mustangs from the 60s with modern engine components in terms of emissions but without the safety nonsense.

    So the government ‘allows’ this to be produced, but us peons can’t have a mass produced older style vehicle.

    Most people do not prefer small cars, especially if they have families or if they are on the tall and big side.

  15. Sam J. says:

    “It is incredible to me, how much gas consumption is increased in the US due to the proliferation of automatic transmissions.”

    I left out the SUV part so this is not entirely accurate but I don’t think automatic transmissions have near the effect on gas mileage they used to. They lock the torque converters now.

  16. Jim says:

    The “safety nonsense” once saved my life. I was very glad for it.

    Emissions regulations started off well but eventually devolved into the standard UN Green New Deal global carbon tax agenda.

    If an old replica is your bag, baby, you can have one for far less than 200 g. Grab a helmet and prepare for liftoff. It will rock your world.

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