The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has released a recent study that found out that certain types of crashes involve more large vehicles than cars. The large vehicles include SUVs, vans, and pickup trucks, which, as we know by now, have become more prevalent on US roads since the previous decade.

In earlier research, the agency has established that SUVs are more fatal to pedestrians than cars. This recent IIHS study further strengthens that and makes it more specific to various scenarios.

In the latest study, IIHS looked into the most common sorts of single-vehicle, single-pedestrian collisions that happen at or near intersections and other places. They next looked at how three larger vehicle types fared in these collisions compared to autos. Of note, turning crashes accounted for more than 900 of around 5,800 fatal pedestrian crashes at or near U.S. intersections from 2014 to 2018.

According to the study, the odds that a crash that killed a pedestrian at intersections involving a left turn (versus no turn) were about twice as high for SUVs, nearly thrice as high for vans and minivans, and nearly four times as high for pickups as they were for cars. On the other hand, those involving a right turn were also 89 percent higher for pickups and 63 percent higher for SUVs than for cars.

"It's possible that the size, shape or location of the A-pillars that support the roof on either side of the windshield could make it harder for drivers of these larger vehicles to see crossing pedestrians when they are turning," says IIHS Senior Transportation Engineer Wen Hu.

Apart from the fatal crashes, IIHS also studied police-reported pedestrian crashes in North Carolina from 2010 to 2018. Turning crashes accounted for about 2,070 of 5,500 crashes that occurred at or near intersections in North Carolina over the study period. Among those numbers, pickups were 42 percent more likely and SUVs were 23 percent more likely than cars to hit pedestrians when turning left. For right-turn crashes, the IIHSA found no significant differences.

IIHS admitted that more study is needed to understand the role of visibility in these crashes. However, the latest findings have prompted the agency to have a closer look at vehicle designs in relation to visibility – all in the name of road safety.

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