When it comes to motor vehicle accidents, persons in small vehicles, on motorcycles, on bicycles or on foot may be at an increased risk for sustaining serious injuries or even dying from their injuries. This reality makes it important for drivers of all vehicles, especially large ones, to be mindful of these more vulnerable persons and ensure they operate their vehicles safely.

The Governors Highway Safety Association released data that suggests Americans’ infatuation with sport utility vehicles and big trucks may actually provide a deadly hazard for pedestrians. Between 2008 and 2018, pedestrian fatalities across the country spiked tragically by 41% and they now account for 16% of all motor vehicle accident fatalities nationwide.

Impact to a pedestrian when hit by a tall vehicle more likely occurs at the head or torso level, causing injury to the brain or vital organs versus an impact from a compact car which more likely results in injuries at the leg or hip level. Driver distraction has also been identified as a contributor to the increase in pedestrian fatalities, as people refuse to put away their phones or cease operating in-vehicle infotainment systems.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, pedestrian fatalities in Indiana in 2018 accounted for 13.3% of all accident deaths that year, up from 11% the prior year and 10.5% in 2016. The number of pedestrians killed in Indiana also increase during those three years from 87 in 2016 to 101 in 2017 and then to 114 in 2018. Fatality counts from 2019 have not yet been released by the NHTSA.