You are 28 percent more likely to kill the driver of a passenger vehicle if you are involved in a multi-car crash while in an SUV according to a report out of the US.
The report comes from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), a US non-profit organisation which is funded by insurance companies.
Deaths from crashes involving passenger vehicles that were one to four years old between 1989 and 2015 were examined, in an effort to better understand what the IIHS describes as ‘incompatibility’ between vehicles on the road.
While SUVs are still more likely to kill another driver in a crash than a passenger vehicle, the number has reduced dramatically since the study began in the late ‘80s.
Between 1989 and 1992 SUVs were 132 percent more likely to kill the driver in a passenger car compared to a crash that included another car. For the period between 2013 and 2016 this had fallen significantly to 28 percent.
This can largely be attributed to the addition of smaller, lighter, and lower crossovers and small SUVs, and their booming popularity.
The same cannot be said for pick-ups, which have remained the vehicles most likely to kill another driver in a crash, with almost no decrease since 1989.
When the study began a pick-up was 159 percent more likely to kill the driver of a passenger car, while in 2016 the figure stood at 158 percent.
In its conclusion, the IIHS study describes pick-ups as remaining “disproportionately aggressive toward other vehicles”.
In order to combat this, the IIHS recommends “reducing the weight of some of the heaviest vehicles and making crash avoidance technology fitment more widespread”.
It should be noted that dual-cab utes like the Ford Ranger are classed as a light pick-up, and were rated as 23 percent more likely to kill a driver of a passenger car.
Large American trucks like the Ram 1500 and Chevrolet Silverado 2500 are classified as pick-ups in that region.
The reason why SUVs and pick-ups pose a greater risk to passenger car drivers is two-fold. Those types of vehicles are often heavier, meaning they carry and transfer more energy in crash. They are also higher, meaning they are more likely to miss the strongest parts of a passenger car’s crash structure, instead making contact higher up where the driver is less protected.