A new report from non-profit consumer organization Consumer Reports has identified some of the dangers that big trucks and larger vehicles present on the road.
According to Consumer Reports, big trucks, including full-sized and heavy-duty models, have a significant frontal blind spot. After measuring front visibility for 15 different models, the organization found that some trucks had front blind spots 11 feet longer than certain sedans. The front blind spots were also 7 feet longer than some popular SUVs. The blind spot increases the chance of a “frontover” collision occurring, with small children being particularly at risk.
Citing KidsAndCars.org, more than 931 frontover fatalities occurred between 1990 and 2019, with the majority of victims aged between 12 and 23 months old. More than 80 percent of the fatalities involved a truck, van, or SUV.
What’s more, over 42,000 people were killed on U.S. roadways in 2020, an increase of 8 percent compared to the year prior, despite fewer miles traveled on average. Consumer Reports also cites a Governors Highway Safety Association statistic that found pedestrian fatalities rose 46 percent in the last decade.
“Research has found that modern pickups—which can have tall hoods, large blind spots, and stiff body-on-frame designs, and which can often exceed 4,000 pounds—are particularly deadly in crashes with pedestrians and smaller, lighter vehicles,” Consumer Reports states.
The organization also reports that the hood height of big trucks has increased by an average of 11 percent in the last two decades, with new pickup curb weight growing 24 percent on average between the year 2000 and 2018.
Despite larger blind spots, heavier curb weights, and longer braking distances, big trucks are also less likely to come equipped with the same standard safety features found on cars and SUVs, including automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, and blind spot warning. That includes popular models like the Chevy Colorado, Chevy Silverado, GMC Sierra, and GMC Canyon, none of which offer automatic emergency braking or blind-spot warning as standard. That said, General Motors told Consumer Reports that its standard-duty pickups will have “at least” automatic emergency braking by 2022.
General Motors also stated that the dimensions of big trucks were desired by customers for greater ground clearance, greater towing capacity, more cargo room, and greater engine cooling.
Source: Consumer Reports