Since 2020, statistics have shown that the roads have become more deadly for drivers in the United States. In 2021, about 42,939 died in motor vehicle accidents marking a 10.5% increase from 2020. Latest figures show 2022 rates have decreased, but only marginally. One particularly alarming trend that has garnered attention is the relationship between large pickup trucks and higher death rates among drivers. The IIHS’s latest figures demonstrate why there is a greater cause for concern amongst users of our roadways. 

The Rise of Large Pickup Trucks

Over the years, there has been a notable shift in consumer preferences toward larger, heavier vehicles, particularly pickup trucks. American buyers are drawn toward their comfortable cabin space, functional utility, and perceived safety advantages. As a result, the roads have been flooded by a large number of pickup trucks prompting concerns over their impact on road safety. 

Unveiling the Risk

Large pickup trucks carry substantial weight compared to the average car. For 2021, the EPA estimates that average pickup truck weight is about 5,200 pounds. Compared to the average for all vehicle types, trucks weigh about 1,000 pounds more than the average car. In comparison to sedans, the weight difference jumps to about 1,700 pounds in favor of pick up trucks. The significant weight and dimensions of these trucks can lead to devastating consequences in collisions with smaller vehicles, amplifying the risk of fatalities. 

The Data from IIHS

Examining data between 2018 and 2021, the IIHS demonstrated that “very large pickup” trucks accounted for 6 of the 20 vehicle models with the highest rates of other-driver deaths, more than any other class of vehicles. These are the truck models and corresponding other-driver deaths per million registered vehicles: 

  • Ram 3500 Crew Cab long bed 4WD: 189
  • Ford F-350 Crew Cab 4WD: 147
  • Ram 2500 Mega Cab 4WD: 145
  • Ram 2500 Crew Cab short bed 4WD: 122
  • Ram 1500 Crew Cab short bed 2WD: 104
  • Ford F-250 SuperCab 4WD: 95

A Double Edged Sword

While large pickup trucks exhibit higher other-driver death rates, they appear to fare better in protecting their own occupants. The safest vehicles on the road according to IIHS data are midsize luxury SUVs. While large pick up trucks aren’t featured on their list for lowest rates of driver deaths, it can be assumed that large pick up trucks perform average when it comes to driver safety. Essentially, this means other drivers are taking on the safety risks and facing the consequences inherent to more pickup trucks on the road. 

Navigating Toward Safer Roads

Large pickup trucks emerging as potential safety hazards demands heightened awareness and responsible driving practices. Advocates for road safety are also calling for more stringent regulations tailored to large pickup trucks. These regulations could mandate stricter licensing requirements and integration of advanced safety features which would help contribute to a safer environment for all road goers.

As the automotive landscape continues to evolve, the latest IIHS data serves as a reminder of the many intricate factors that contribute to road safety and higher death rates. To promote road safety and reduce the impact of large pickup trucks on fatalities, it’s essential for all stakeholders, including manufacturers, regulators, and drivers, to play their part and prioritize safety. If your loved one was involved in a fatal accident involving a truck, a wrongful death lawyer from Davis Kelin Law Firm can help you recover damages.