Pickup Trucks Getting Bigger Poses a Few Safety Risks According to Consumer Reports
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The pickup truck market is booming. Consumers are borrowing more money so they can drive larger vehicles, and automakers are meeting their demand by releasing more full-size truck models. Manufacturers market these trucks as bold and tough vehicles.
There are, however, some hidden issues with these large vehicles that Consumer Reports (CR) is bringing to light. CR conducted a study regarding the safety hazards that these trucks pose on the road.
With more and more accidents happening that involve large trucks, the risks of having higher numbers of big vehicles on the road need to be addressed. The CR study highlights some concerning trends in the large pickup truck market, and suggests how safety risks can be reduced.
Findings from the Consumer Reports study
Consumer Reports found that large pickups were more likely to be involved in accidents, specifically "frontover" collisions, than any other vehicle. If a driver hits someone in their front blind spot, it’s called a frontover crash.
The research found that modern pickups are heavy, often exceeding 4,000 pounds, can have tall hoods, large blind spots, and stiff body designs. In general, it’s harder to avoid a crash while driving a larger vehicle.
These trucks are more deadly in crashes with pedestrians or smaller vehicles. The study of pedestrian deaths also reflects social inequities. People who buy smaller cars tend to have lower incomes, and they have less protection in crashes with big trucks.
According to CR, over 80% of the frontover fatalities between 1990 and 2019 involved a truck, SUV, or van. Most of those fatalities were children between 12 and 23 months old.
Large trucks are a deadly hazard to children and smaller cars
As auto manufacturers continue to meet consumer demand and build bigger and taller trucks, this will impact the deadliness of car crashes. CR found that trucks are at least 11% taller than they were in 2000. The Ford F-250, for example, has a hood that is 55 inches off the ground.
This means that the blind spot on the front of these trucks is massive, sometimes up to 11 feet longer than those of a smaller sedan, and 7 feet longer than an average SUV. While sitting in the driver's seat, you wouldn’t be able to see a small child in the front blind spot.
Some of these large trucks don’t come with important standard safety features like automatic emergency braking (AEB) with pedestrian detection or blind spot warning (BSW). The Ram 1500 Classic, Chevy Colorado, and GMC Canyon, don’t offer AEB or BSW at all.
How to reduce the risk of crashes with larger vehicles
Equipping trucks with standard advanced safety systems will help keep other drivers and pedestrians safe on the road. The market and consumer demand has driven the trucks to become bigger but also more lethal.
As a consumer, if you don’t really need a big truck, you might want to look into smaller alternatives. You might consider something like the Ford Maverick; a compact truck that comes with many optional safety features available. Lawmakers can also address these issues by mandating standard safety features for larger vehicles.
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