A study released this week reveals that despite government test data showing vehicles have been getting safer, all car related fatalities are still on the rise. The fatality numbers have trended upward over the past decade with pedestrians and cyclists seeing the sharpest increase. The fatality rate in the combined pedestrian/cyclist group has risen over 60% between 2011 and 2022.
The Institute for Highway Safety (IHS) looked at almost 18,000 crashes involving a single passenger vehicle and a single pedestrian or cyclist. Using the VIN to identify crash-involved vehicles, they calculated front end measurements of over 2,900 unique car, minivan, large van and pickup models while excluding vehicles with automatic braking. Vehicles with hoods over 40 inches off the ground and a grill slope of 65 degrees or less were 45% more likely to cause a pedestrian fatality compared with those with a slope of 30 inches or less.
“Manufacturers can make vehicles less dangerous to pedestrians by lowering the front end of the hood and angling the grille and hood to create a sloped profile” IHS Senior Research Transportation Engineer Wen Hu said in a statement. Hu went on to say “There is no functional benefit to those massive, blocky fronts.” Sloping the front ends with hood heights under 40 inches reduced the risk to pedestrians and cyclists. The researchers also noted a 25% increase in the fatality risk with flat hoods and those with hood angles of 15 degrees or less.
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