SUV toll mounts

The social cost of SUV proliferation is finally showing up in higher auto insurance premiums, brought on by the increasingly violent, increasingly deadly crashes that these things cause.

The article notes in passing that a pedestrian or cyclist is 82% more likely to die when hit by an SUV than by a car. That factor increases immeasurably with the installation of “bull bars,” which turn a three-ton battering ram into a three-ton steel-edged battering ram.

It’s appalling that almost all discussions of SUV safety are couched in language about drivers alone — namely, their danger to other drivers (or, from the SUV advocate perspective, the other drivers’ danger to themselves for not choosing the “safer” trucks). Pedestrians account for 13% of traffic deaths, and cyclists another 2%. It is unquestionably true that a world of all SUVs would be more dangerous for pedestrians and cyclists; even if it were marginally safer for drivers, the total number of traffic deaths will undoubtedly increase as weaker road users are killed off.

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