Residents in Georgia who are concerned about safety on the road may feel that driving a larger automobile, like a sport utility vehicle, protects them and their family members more than driving a smaller vehicle.

That may hold true in some situations. However, these same large vehicles may increase the risk of hitting a pedestrian due to lack of ability to see them due to height. Pedestrians may also experience more serious outcomes, including death, when hit by an SUV versus a sedan or other passenger car.

Pedestrian deaths skyrocket across the country

In 2009, the United States recorded a total of 4,109 pedestrian fatalities according to data from the Governors Highway Safety Association. Now, the GHSA predicts that nearly 6,600 pedestrians died on American roads in 2019, a 60% increase since 2009. The prediction is based on traffic fatality data for the first six months of the year.

Pedestrian deaths in Georgia

Records from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration show that pedestrians accounted for 11.7% of all traffic deaths in Georgia in 2009. That year, 152 people on foot lost their lives in vehicle crashes statewide. In 2014, the state recorded 163 pedestrian deaths representing 14% of all accident fatalities. For the next four years, the number of pedestrians killed in automobile accidents continued to increase.

In 2018, Georgia lost 261 pedestrians in vehicle accidents, accounting for 17.4% of the state’s total accident fatalities.

Taller vehicles, taller problems

Drivers in SUVs may have a reduced ability to see pedestrians due to the height of their vehicles. Pedestrians hit by SUVs more frequently experience impact to their vital organs and head instead of their legs and hips, potentially contributing to more serious outcomes.