Ford Authority

Tall Vehicles With Blunt Front Ends Harm Pedestrians: Report

In recent years, a handful of studies have found that larger vehicles – such as SUVs, trucks, and vans – are largely to blame for an increase in pedestrian deaths, and are more likely to hit pedestrians when making turns, due to the fact that their taller ride heights and vision-obscuring parts can make it hard to see people who might be crossing the path of such models. For its part, Ford has worked to rectify this issue by filing patents for things like a proximity alert system and external airbags, while testing features like a pedestrian alert system that uses a vehicle’s audio system to warn drivers when someone is near a vehicle. In the meantime, a new report from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has found that vehicles with higher, more vertical front ends are quite dangerous for pedestrians, too.

This research – which analyzed 17,897 reports of pedestrian-involved crashes – found that vehicles with a hood height larger than 40 inches are around 45 percent more likely to cause fatalities in those types of accidents when compared to vehicles with a hood height of 30 inches or less and a sloping profile. However, among vehicles with hood heights between 30 and 40 inches, a blunt, or more vertical, front end increases the risk to pedestrians. Pedestrian crash deaths have risen 80 percent since hitting a low in 2009, totaling nearly 7,400 in 2021.

Of those accidents, IIHS used VINs from the vehicles involved to determine their front end measurements, and noted that factors such as speeding and poorly designed infrastructure have helped fuel the increase of pedestrian deaths in recent years as well. Regardless, it also discovered that larger, heavier, high-riding, and flat-faced vehicles aren’t helping matters.

“Some of today’s vehicles are pretty intimidating when you’re passing in front of them in a crosswalk,” said IIHS President David Harkey. “These results tell us our instincts are correct – more aggressive-looking vehicles can indeed do more harm. It’s clear that the increasing size of the vehicles in the U.S. fleet is costing pedestrians their lives. We encourage automakers to consider these findings and take a hard look at the height and shape of their SUVs and pickups.”

We’ll have more safety-related news to share soon, so be sure and subscribe to Ford Authority for ongoing Ford news coverage.

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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  1. JE

    If pick-ups or 7 or more passengers SUV´s have a reason to be, 5 or less passengers SUV´s and crossovers are the most involutive vehicles in automotive history. They have not only many blind spots due to it´s hight, but as their gravity center is also higher, they are more expensive to maintain (they need more technology and their parts tend to wear out faster), they are also more consumpting and polluting and their driveability is poor when compared to the one of a sedan or a sports car (the Newton law will always win). SUV´s also don´t offer any advantage over sedans as they don´t offer more space (their platform is not larger than the one of a sedan) and finally SUV´s represent a contradiction in a planet that has climate change problems. But such is mankind and as long as there is money to be made, if it sells, it will be produced.

  2. Mark B

    I certainly don’t think this news should really be news. Never having been an SUV fan for a multitude of reasons, this is just one more negative added to the long list of others. This design is regressive. The frontal mass exposure reminds me of a Model T or other late 1800’s or early 1900’s vehicle. Back then the roads were horrible if non-existent. These designs came directly from horse drawn wagons. Tell me again…what’s the rationale today?

  3. wj

    That a no brainer…..i be willing to bet if a person walked out in front of a Corvette….and sharper bumper would do as much damage too….that like saying a motorcycle you get hurt more than in a car….a way to solve some it…would be a alarm system so the pedestrians.,,would move out of way….most time a SUV is much safer than a smaller car…also people went to SUVS because Detroit stopped building large sedans….

  4. Lance

    Isn’t the blunt front end of cars a response to pedestrians getting leg injuries from slope nosed vehicles?
    Can’t we just agree that getting hit by anything that weighs more what’s being hit is bad and in the case of carbon based life forms also potentially fatal?

    1. JK

      You are absolutely right. The thought was, make it tall and wide. Distribute the impact over a wider area and lessen the damage.

  5. ml c

    What is actually the cause and whom/what is to blame for this carnage? DUH! As long as any vehicle is on a roadway, and not on a sidewalk, pedestrians should always be aware and yield to any motorized vehicle, and whomever was the first to tell children, that pedestrians have the “RIGHT of WAY” and for everyone else who keeps repeating that mantra, they should all be imprisoned!

  6. EB1959

    I was raised to look both ways before crossing a street. These days, people have NO common sense and ignore the fact that they do NOT always have the right of way. You DON’T jog/walk in the road when there is a perfectly good sidewalk, you DON’T jay-walk, and you DON’T jet out from between 2 parked vehicles without looking and you don’t walk in the road at NIGHT if you don’t have too. Just a few pretty simple common sense rules.

  7. JoeBryant

    So they are saying that if I get hit by a train (tall vehicle with a blunt nose) it’s going to hurt. Huh, go figure.

  8. Mike K

    And it took a study to figure this out. I think a 5th grader would be able to come up with the same answer. Oh and did you know it’s now legal to J-walk here in California! Talk about are you smarter than a 5th grader. Not our governor!

  9. Dave Mathers

    News flash – ANY pedestrian hit by a vehicle’s front end is going to get hurt!!

  10. Mackie

    Imagine getting ‘bumped’ by a Cybertruck with those razor sharp stainless angles and edges.

  11. Mackie

    Pedestrian protection is a real thing, especially in Europe on narrow streets in close quarters to people. There are required clearance zones under the hood if your head hits hard it won’t come into contact with a manifold, alternator or similar ‘immovable’ objects below the hood ‘crumple’ zone. If you don’t have the clearance, pyrotechnic hinges are used that blow the hood up to provide the clearance once and impact is detected. You also have to make sure that any exterior surface contactable by a 100mm sphere has at least at 2.5mm (I believe) or greater radii to prevent concentrated loads.

  12. Blackbelt

    To those saying the pedestrian does not have the right of way, hit one and you will quickly find out. In the eyes of the law and every insurance company, the pedestrian who gets hit is never in the wrong. Happened to me, driving down the street at the posted speed of 35 and a kid ran out from between 2 parked cars and ran right into the side of my car. He thankfully wasn’t seriously injured, but they took him to the hospital to get checked out. My insurance company settled with the kids mother for some sum of money. I raised hell with my agent and was told “pedestrians are always in the right, even when the are not”.
    As to the premise of this story, yes these huge vehicles are ridiculous, but we need our soccer moms to feel “safe”

  13. Johnny B

    NO SH&% SHERLOCK Some idiots are willing to take some pain for the big payout they believe that they are then entitled to . It’s are justice system that needs an overhaul.

  14. Johnny B

    Mount air bags on the front bumper. problem solved.


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