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Consumer Reports Study Highlights Lesser Known Dangers Of Big Trucks

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Over the last couple of decades, trucks continue to grow in size, and today’s full-size pickups are considerably larger than those built not too terribly long ago. Even trucks like the mid-size Ford Ranger are noticeably bigger than their predecessors, as consumers seek out larger rides. Problem is, not too many are aware of the many dangers of big trucks, particularly the ones they pose to pedestrians.

A new Consumer Reports study shines some light on these lesser-known dangers of big trucks in a way that’s rather eye-opening. As it turns out, one of the biggest concerns in regards to larger pickups is the fact that they feature greatly reduced front visibility due to their tall ride height and longer hoods. After measuring 15 different full-size and heavy-duty trucks, CR found that they had frontal area blind spots that were, on average, 11 feet longer than the average sedan and 7 feet longer than a typical SUV.

Between 1990 and 2019, 931 people were killed in “frontover” collisions, which occur when someone is struck by the front of a vehicle while it is moving in a parking lot or driveway. Around 80 percent of those accidents involved a pickup truck, SUV, or van, and the majority of victims were between 12 and 23 months old.

Much of this problem can be traced to an increase in hood height over the years, which CR reports has jumped 11 percent for all vehicles and 24 percent for trucks. The Ford Super Duty F-250, for example, has a hood height of 55 inches, which is roughly the same height as the roof on an average sedan. Meanwhile, pedestrian fatalities rose 8 percent last year and 46 percent over the last decade.

There are other factors at play besides larger frontal blind spots, as CR points out. For one, trucks are larger and heavier than smaller vehicles, which decreases braking and emergency handling performance. Additionally, many large trucks lack standard advanced safety systems, such as automatic emergency braking (AEB), with or without pedestrian detection, as well as blind-spot warning systems. It is worth pointing out, however, that both the 2021 Ford F-150 and Ranger offer AEB with pedestrian protection as standard equipment after the former was called out by Consumer Reports last summer.

We’ll have more insights like this to share soon, so be sure and subscribe to Ford Authority for ongoing Ford news coverage.

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Brett's lost track of all the Fords he's owned over the years and how much he's spent modifying them, but his current money pits include an S550 Mustang and 13th gen F-150.

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Comments

  1. Rory

    “Around 80 percent involved a pickup truck, SUV, or van.” I’d liked for CR to delve further into those stats to indicate how many were SUV, how many were pickup truck, how many were van, and what the two primary contributory causes were so we could be more enlightened as to whether the hood height was contributory. I see only an excuse for more regulatory oversite of what I’m sure the “no one should have a vehicle bigger than mine” activists will say are, “these dangerous pickup trucks.”

    Reply
  2. Mike

    CR loves to put out partial stats and come up with their desired conclusions. Considering the ratio of vans, trucks and SUV’s to cars, 80% is probably right in line with what’s on the road. I’d bet the increase is more from people on their phones than because a truck has a tall hood.

    Reply
  3. Dave Mathers

    Looking at the top photo it reminds of people that drive a desk for 50 weeks of the year then for two weeks they become ‘truck drivers’ with their big trucks and trailers. What can possible go wrong!!

    Reply
  4. Mr Martin

    I LOVE my Ford Excursion, but my Tesla Cybertruck can’t get here soon enough! It seems to solve all of the blind spot issues discussed in this article. Front visibility of CT will be a zillion times better than any truck with a 55″ tall hood, and 8-10 cameras always on duty & paying attention 360 degrees to back me up! Tesla is single-handedly, and very quickly reducing roadway fatalities by an order of magnitude! #goelon

    Reply
  5. Jonathan

    This article definitely does not go deep enough into the actual root cause of any of these accidents. That and the fact it lumps together all trucks, vans and SUVs and you have stats that you can easily manipulate to push a narrative. Let’s break it all down and dig a little deeper before using correlation of hood height as the only factor in pedestrian fatalities.

    Reply
  6. Thomas Q Weaver

    Trucks are needed for different consumer applications so at the end of the day the driver has to be aware of the vehicles limitations and drive accordingly and assume responsibility for their lack of judgment

    Reply
  7. Ron D

    My 2020 F250 has 8 cameras and I can see completely around my truck whenever I like; automatically when the truck is in reverse. This article is very vague. I’d like to see a separate report on each- trucks, vans and suvs. I’m sure the data is completely different for each.

    Reply
  8. Matthew floyd

    931 deaths over a 30 year period…..
    I think toasters and corded home telephones each have a higher death toll than that over the same time period.

    I’m actually came away quite comforted knowing there are only about 30 deaths per year due to this in a country of over 300,000,000 people.

    But yes, very math 101 type reporting here.

    Reply
  9. Mark W.

    Hmm, instead of complaining about what conclusions Consumer Reports draws from these statistics, the inconvenient truth is that more people are being run over, injured or killed in accidents. I know some of you might say that the pedestrians were at fault… and perhaps there’s some cases like that, but, it can’t go unnoticed that the increased numbers are out there….SO, instead of just whining about this why not do something ….look into Mobile Eye… it’s designed to alert driver’s of pedestrians and avoid all of this…

    Regardless of who’s at fault the emotional aspect of killing someone with your vehicle is devastating…. and you’ll remember that for the rest of your life…. and if you are found to be at fault there’s severe penalties for that.

    Reply
  10. Bruce Johnson

    How many of the 931 killed were looking at their phones when it happened?

    Reply
  11. Steve

    “the majority of victims were between 12 and 23 months old.”

    Emphasis on ‘months’.

    Seems like the root cause here is parents failing to watch/control their kids properly.

    But sure, let’s blame the trucks instead of holding people accountable for their poor parenting choices.

    Reply
  12. Thomas

    95% of 3/4 ton and larger trucks are driven without any concern to other motorists. I would also assume they are driven mostly by people who buy them for appearances, which would also explain the “tough guy” road manners. I always point out to my wife when I see one actually using their turn signals and/or not driving aggressively as being one of the 5%. For the 95%: No one is impressed at your $800+ truck payment you probably can’t make each month. It says nothing about your masculinity except that you might be overcompensating for something very small in your life…

    Reply
    1. Al Wright

      That must be interesting medication you’re taking…
      My family has HD trucks that we use to move equipment trailers and large box trailers.
      I don’t ever remember thinking I have “tough guy” road manners, but I will tell you I’m sick to death of other drivers cutting in front of me on the highway and taking away my safety zone (I doubt they understand why I’m not tailgating the vehicle in front of me), and pulling out in front of me at intersections.
      I use my headlights and running lights 24 hours a day, and I always use turn signals in the hope that some idiot can look away from Facebook long enough to see my intentions.

      Reply
  13. Brent A Vreeland

    I saw a new Chevy truck 4 by 4 and.a newer Ford truck 4 by 4 side by side and I was shocked at how much taller the Chevrolet was. Why I wonder, my wife couldn’t get into the Chevrolet. I’ll stick with my Nissan Frontier.

    Reply
  14. James Connell

    Some great remarks but we as the drivers need to assume responsibility instead of making truck manufacturer’s add more costly gadgets, just like society we always want to blame it on something or someone else rather than own up to our mistakes.

    Reply
  15. David Gerwin

    The size inflation between my late 1940s pickup and my early 1960s and then my 2004 f150 which I presently use and then the 2020 versions. The 1961 Chev will do everything the 2020s will do. So the question I have about the large physical size increase is simply. WHY.

    Reply
    1. Stewart Hart

      That’s easy
      Fashion
      Nothing more than fashion
      Just like the silly 1940’s men’s haircuts in vogue at the moment

      Reply
  16. TangIt

    Since I drive one of those scary big trucks I get to see allot. The issue is the phone and how people use it in their vehicles. Every single day there are more people on their phones driving then not. Also here’s the basics for Pedestrians if you can’t see a drivers eyes and the vehicle is moving don’t step in front of it. No sorry guess you can’t do that when your looking at your phone. Where has the common sense gone its not the vehicle it’s the driver 100%

    Reply
  17. John

    Sounds like another Suzuki Samurai story. Nothing wrong with Samurai, but made up story about how they were prone to rollover, unsafe, etc. They quietly paid Suzuki for the false report, but nothing ever said about that. I don’t trust them. Sounds like another vendetta against big trucks. We all supposed to drive tiny trucks to save the world, right.

    Reply
  18. Patrick

    Most of the people killed were toddlers, so likely none of them were looking at a phone when they were struck.

    From what it sounds like, is that most of these accidents are caused by having a young child at home and then running them over because you can’t see them over the front hood.

    The solution sounds like adding pedestrian warning systems as standard equipment and making design changes to decrease hood height so you can more easily see children in front of the truck.

    Reply
  19. Steven

    ..and the majority of victims were between 12 and 23 months old.
    Stop deflecting cause for the increase on cell phone use. Most likely these victims were the driver’s own child or friend or neighbor. Horrific.

    Reply
  20. Luke

    100% of those killed live in a building of some sort. 100% of buildings are made using trucks. I guess they are saying they want to live in a teepee that still won’t fit in your stupid hybrid. 95% of people are getting dumber every day, and need to be run over. And let’s also consider how many drivers are distracted or doped up or both. I’m very sorry for anyone who lost someone to a accident like this, but there is no way that the majority of all of these individuals behind the wheel and walking were paying the needed attention to what was going on.

    Reply
  21. Katherine Kegg

    I would guess it’s the lack of attention paid by the narcissistic, aggressive idiots who drive most of these enormous and unnecessary trucks that is responsible for a large number of accidents. I’ve been nearly run off the road multiple times and it’s not the trucks fault ….it’s the jerk driving it who is at fault. Road rage + huge vehicle = danger

    Reply
  22. Eighteen Wheeler

    I have been driving TRUCKS, not with 4 wheels since 1963 and some 6 million miles and counting. The hood is far taller than a PICKUP hood. I have never had any problems seeing over the hood. The problem is too many people buy a 4 wheeled pick up and think they are king of the road. Don’t blame the pickup! It’s today’s people. They think the world needs to get out of their way. In vehicles, in line at the store or any where they want to cut in.
    Just like people blame a gun for killing. A gun has NEVER killed anyone. It is the miss guided misfit that pulled the trigger.
    So don’t blame the pickup. It has yet to start itself, drive down the street to run over some one.

    Reply
  23. Deckster01

    There are many more trucks sold and on road now than there were 10 years ago.

    Reply
  24. Peggy

    Here’s a thought … It is a two+ ton vehicle! Watch your kids, don’t walk out in traffic, and know the rules of the road (bicyclists & pedestrians); and right on red is legal most s but you HAVE TO STOP FIRST! More users on our roadways – courtesy & common sense.

    Reply
  25. Stewart Hart

    Ford & other American manufacturer’s pickup truck Hood heights are all about style
    Nothing about function
    Every manufacturer copied off of the Dodge tall grills and hoods of a few yrs ago that echoed Peterbilts in the trucker wannabe consumers minds
    There is no reason for pickups to have the silly hood heights of modern pickups
    There is very little original design in cars & trucks
    For instance every SUV now is a copy of the Lexus 350
    Remember when Ford was the 1st to come out with rounded auto designs
    Every other manufacturer copied the design including Mercedes

    Reply
  26. Tom

    Not buying that it’s all cause the trucks are larger. Distracted and aggressive driving have a lot to do with it. I run a lot and have noticed the trend ever since smart phones became common. Amazing how many drivers you see with their heads looking down at a phone and how many will cut off a pedestrian in a crosswalk and look at them like their po’d that they have the nerve to be on their road. Hardly ever saw that just a decade ago.

    Reply
    1. Stewart Hart

      “All”

      Reply
  27. Alex

    Gratuitous hood raising is ridiculous. Of course it hinders visibility, aerodynamics, maintenance accessibility, etc. The fact that the hood line is now jacked up above the already raised side window lines makes them even more absurd. And the giant grills as well… does that tiny turbo four in there really need so much air to combust its fuel load and stay cool? Of course these designs come in cycles; someday a brave maker will come out with a new pick up truck design with a lower beltline, better visibility and improved aerodynamics, many buyers will see the obvious advantages, and the rest will follow.

    Reply
    1. Stewart Hart

      Some maker has
      But not from Dearborn

      Reply
  28. Denise M. Wright

    I’d lay odds the 55 inch hood height was a lifted truck. My 73 1 ton chevy P/U parked right next to my boss’s new 2500 HD single cab is the same size. I’m 6ft and I’ve yet to stand next to a non lifted truck where the hood height reaches my chest. I wonder if back in the day when folks got trampled they complained that horses were to big. Here’s an idea remember when parents used to tell their kids look both ways before you cross the street. Dont walk in front of moving vehicles even if the pedestrian sign says you can. You’d be surprised at how many people walk in front of my big rig before its stopped. What if I’m distracted ,what if the brakes fail. Makes sure that vehicle is stopped before you step in front of it even if its Sears Go-Cart.

    Reply
  29. Tim lubbers

    Just like the fight over 2A, the “let’s electrify everything” crowd is trying to add another cut to the gas/diesel world … Death by a thousand cuts plan …

    Reply
    1. Tom

      I’ll be interested to see how well these new Ford Lightnings will hold up over time. Probably going to be awesome for a few years and by 2030 you’ll have to leave it hooked up to an extension cord to get it out of the driveway 😂

      Reply
      1. Tim lubbers

        I also want to see the lightning hook up to a horse trailer to go for a ride in the mountains … All, besides the semi trucks, of the electric vehicles that I have heard of are fine for cruising on their own, but they still have not addressed the issue of RV’s and “working” trailers …

        Reply
  30. Al Wright

    Let an ol’ fart chime in here.
    I hate to pick on younger drivers, but, well, I’m a gonna anyway. Don’t have fancy statistics to back up my anecdotal observations, but in observing employees and the general motoring public, there’s no doubt in my mind that driving skills are on the skids. It’s my belief that there’s far too much reliance on “let the computer think for you” and a decrease in operator involvement and skill. How many drivers under, say, the age of 40 can drive a manual transmission car or truck, or back up using only their mirrors? Increased automation leads to a decrease in real driving proficiency.
    So how about everybody learns how to drive in an old F100 with 3 in the tree and no ABS or crash avoidance tech, then learn how to appropriately apply modern tech in a supportive role.

    Reply
  31. Paul

    The trucks are getting bigger so you can see them better.
    Getting run over in a parking lot leads me to believe that people are not paying attention to their surroundings and staring at their phones.

    Reply
  32. Collins

    Only 931 people in 29 years?
    Doesn’t sound like a huge problem to me.
    Also, they said the majority of victims were between 1 & 2 years old!
    Seems more like neglectful parents than anything else. They are definitely reaching when they say this is caused by large hoods.

    Reply

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