Gas prices have been falling all over the country in the past few weeks. In most places around the metro Atlanta area, a gallon of gas in now less than $2.00.
The last time gas prices were this low, there was a boom in the sport utility vehicle market. And while sales of SUV’s dropped somewhat when gas prices were at a peak several years ago, these large vehicles have never lost their popularity among drivers. In fact, SUV sales have risen consistently since the 2009. In 2019, sales of SUVs made up 70% of all new vehicle sales.
Many buyers of sport utility vehicles often cite a perception of increased safety as one of the reasons for driving an SUV. In other words, a driver behind the wheel of an SUV feels relatively safer in their larger vehicle as opposed to a regular sedan. This may be because a driver of an SUV is seated higher than in a regular passenger vehicle and feels as though they have a greater line of sight.
However, this perceived safety is often just one-sided. These larger SUV’s come at a cost to pedestrians and other drivers on the road. Statistics have shown a direct correlation between the rise of fatal pedestrian accidents and the increased sales of sport utility vehicles. The sheer size of these vehicles makes them much more dangerous to anyone outside of the vehicle, and the trend among auto makers has been to make the SUV’s larger and larger each year.
In a recent test conducted by the Institute for Highway Safety, a pedestrian dummy was placed on the test track and sustained being hit by an SUV. The pedestrian was hit by the SUV at hip level and then flipped over the hood of the vehicle. In other similar tests, the pedestrian dummies were literally broken apart by the impact with the SUV.
It is not just pedestrians that are at a high risk of sustaining fatal injuries if struck by an SUV. Other vehicles, especially sedans and motorcycles generally sustain greater damage in a collision with an SUV than a normal size passenger vehicle. The occupants of these smaller vehicles in turn sustain more serious injuries as a result.
Even though automakers have tried to equip the newer SUV’s with safety technology, this technology does not always guaranty that an accident will be avoided. There have been many instances where safety systems have failed and an accident with a pedestrian or another vehicle occurs.
Distracted drivers behind the wheel of an SUV also contribute to the increased risk of accidents with pedestrians and other vehicles. Studies have shown that people have been driving more in the past ten years. Along with this trend has been an increased use of smartphones both by drivers in a vehicle and pedestrians while on the roads. The mix of distracted pedestrians and drivers, especially those in an SUV, can have a deadly result.
If you or a loved one have been injured in a car accident, call an Atlanta car accident lawyer at the Katz Law Firm, and discuss whether you have grounds for a viable claim for compensation for your losses.