Americans love their SUVs. In fact, the top 5 best-selling vehicles in America are all trucks or SUVs. Sure, they do serve a practical purpose. An SUV can comfortably fit a family or all of your camping gear, if you’re into that sort of thing. But what else might motivate our southern neighbors into consistently opting for a larger vehicle?
One possible motivator is that bigger vehicles can actually offer tax breaks, if they are heavy enough. This tax break is commonly referred to as the “Hummer Tax Loophole”. While that may sound like a very responsible reason for choosing an SUV, other reasons that have been cited are slightly more obvious, such as “in America, bigger is better.”
Bigger Is Not Always Better
In America, deadly SUV crashes involving pedestrians have “increased by 81% between 2009 and 2016.” This is compared to a rise in pedestrian fatality of only 46% for all other vehicles. In other words, SUVs in America are killing pedestrians at nearly double the rate of any other type of vehicle.
In part, this can presumably be attributed to the rise in SUV popularity. The more SUVs there are on the road, the more likely that they will be involved in an accident. It goes further than that, however. According to Jessica Cicchino, “pedestrians have a higher risk of death or serious injury when they are struck by an SUV compared to a car. SUVs are higher off the ground than cars, they’re stiffer, and they have blunter geometry in the front compared with the more sloping front end of cars [which] can lead to more injuries of all types when a pedestrian is struck by an SUV, especially injuries to the chest and head.”
Canadians differ from Americans in many ways, and our vehicle choices generally are one of them. Overall, Canadians do not favor SUVs quite as much as Americans do. With regards to the greater Vancouver area, perhaps this is due to our concern for environmentalism. Regardless of the reasoning, Canada does not present with the pedestrian death increase that America does. In fact, ICBC reports that British Columbia only had 52 pedestrian deaths in 2013. In 2015 that number jumped to 66 but by 2017 it dropped back down to 42.
ICBC attributes this drop to road improvements and driver awareness. It may be that, or maybe it is because we are not purchasing an increasing number of SUVs like our southern neighbors. Whatever the reason, now you know to be especially wary when using cross-walks if you travel down south.