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Pick up truck comparison, Axios

Big Pick-Ups and the Increasing Danger to Pedestrians

March 6, 2024 - BLASZKOW LEGAL, PLLC March 6, 2024

American auto manufacturers bring out new vehicles every year, including pickup trucks. And the trend lately seems to be that every year, these pickup trucks get bigger and bigger. As the size of these pickups increases, so too does the risk for pedestrians. Pedestrian accidents have increased dramatically across the country, and these blind spots have contributed to the rise in fatal collisions.

The New Pickup Trucks

Pickup trucks were generally designed as work vehicles, with a bed in the back to be able to hold and haul things. These days however, most of these trucks are not utilized for work anymore (though of course some are). Less than half of private pickup truck owners say they have gone off-road, and less than 30% regularly haul anything. Many are used by individuals and families, simply to drive around town. We have all seen these vehicles on the roadway, clean and pristine, never having been used for building or hauling or construction. The vehicles' cabs have themselves gotten bigger, and have gone from a single bench seat, to a large cab that can accommodate five people! (See picture, above)

The fact that more and more of these vehicles are being utilized just as regular family transportation, puts them on the roadway more often. And as more people become environmentally conscious, and switch to transit, the number of pedestrians has also increased. This has, in many ways, proven a dangerous recipe for innocent pedestrians.

The Downside of Popular Pickup Trucks

While these vehicles pose a unique danger, there are other reasons why it is confusing as to why they are selling as fast as they are.

  • These larger and larger pickup trucks are very difficult to park

  • Make very wide turns

  • Cost more to purchase than regular sports cars and sedans

  • Require unique tires and replacement parts

  • Are harder to get into, and out of

  • Consume more gas

The biggest problem that we see however, aside from the other negative attributes, is the danger that they pose to pedestrians, due to larger and larger blind spots across the class.

The Dangers of Pickup Trucks and Bigger Blind Spots

While we don't wish to single any vehicle out, we must utilize one as an example. So let us look at the very popular Ford F-series pickups, which are a great seller for that company, and ubiquitous on the streets of America. These vehicles, from road to roof, can generally be between 76 and 82 in, which is 7 feet tall! Now, consider just how high the front grill and the hood are.

The increased size of the vehicle, and their higher mounting relative to the pavement, means that when a driver looks forward, this line of sight is blocked by the hood. The driver cannot see someone standing directly in front of the vehicle. Now of course, that driver may be able to see a full size adult. Perhaps from the waist up, or perhaps about mid-chest.

Pick up truck blind spotBut what about children? The reality is that most children until they really get into their growth spurt phases, are under 4 feet high. A child crossing the street in a crosswalk, cannot be seen by a pickup truck driver who is stopped at a stop sign - who could then proceed forward, erroneously and incorrectly believing the road is clear, leading to a disastrous collision.

A second blind spot is the A-pillar. This is the frame that holds the windshield, connecting the hood to the roof, and usually break back at about a 45° angle or so. These pillars are thicker than in the past, acting as a blind, around which a driver cannot see. That means that a driver who looks left and looks right, is missing certain things that are blocked by this wide A-pillar.

The width of the a pillar also creates a problem not just for pedestrians, but for other vehicles. Consider, when one of these big trucks is trying to make a left turn, the driver is not going to be able to see parts of other cars (and cars themselves) as well as traffic control devices, and of course, pedestrians.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 2020, motor vehicles caused over 6,500 pedestrian fatalities across America - a third of these fatalities involved pickup trucks and SUVs. This is astonishing because it is twice as many caused by large trucks, such as 18-wheelers!

This number is horrific, and is only likely to increase as more pedestrians cross the streets in their commutes, and more people buy these vehicles. If you have been injured by one of these vehicles, or have lost a loved one in a pedestrian truck crash, you need to speak to an experienced pedestrian accident lawyer today.

Blind Spot Comparison

A new station in Indianapolis, WTHR, conducted a study showing the dangerous front-end blindspots of pickup trucks and SUVs on the roadway. Their findings were shocking. Take a look at their comparison presentation, below.

WTHR Blind Spot ComparisonSafety Strategies for Pedestrians

In this day and age, it can be sometimes difficult to discuss pedestrian safety, because some people think that advocating pedestrian safety means that you are blaming the pedestrians. That is not the case. We are not suggesting that a pedestrian crossing the street, following the lights and obeying the laws is responsible for the crash. However, we would not be doing our duty if we did not suggest some ways to make you safer:

  • Regardless of the traffic lights, always look both ways. Traffic lights are there to control traffic, but some drivers ignore them.

  • Always use the crosswalk. In a crosswalk, you generally have the protection of traffic lights and walk signs, and most people are going to obey that.

  • Avoid jaywalking. The quickest route across the street may not be the safest. And in a contributory negligence jurisdiction, such as Virginia and Maryland, this can truly impact your case.

  • Always look both ways. Do not only look at oncoming traffic, because DUI drivers, or emergency vehicles, maybe coming up the way that you don't expect them to.

What to do if You are Hurt by a Truck in a Pedestrian Crash

If you have been hurt in a pedestrian accident, you need to protect your rights, and protect yourself at all times. Follow these simple steps, if possible. We recognize that some of them, you may not be able to handle, depending on how badly hurt you were.

  1. Call the police. Do not think that the incident was just a bump, or a bruise. Internal injuries may not show themselves right away, so don't just dismiss the impact. Always call the police. Never let anyone tell you that you don't have to, or that they don't want you to. Your job is to protect yourself, not a negligent drivers reputation.

  2. Take pictures. You cannot take enough pictures, ever. Take pictures of the vehicle, the crosswalk, traffic lights and traffic signals, any debris, and anything else that you think may be related. Videos are always great too!

  3. Identify the driver. It is not enough to get someone's insurance card, because an insurance card tells you who owns the vehicle, not who is driving it. Your case is against the driver. Always get a picture of someone's state issued driver's license or state issued ID card.

  4. Identify witnesses. This includes passengers in the vehicle that hit you, as well as anyone who is standing around. You cannot always rely on the police to record this information. Sometimes, they will speak to someone, and then let them go, without ever properly identifying them. If you can, get a name, address, phone number, and email address.

  5. Get to a hospital now. In a pedestrian strike, time is of the essence. Don't think that just because you "only" fell down, you can shake it off. Some injuries do not manifest themselves right away, and you need a comprehensive evaluation to make sure that you are all right. A pedestrian strike is serious, and you should never delay your medical evaluation.

  6. Call an attorney. Blaszkow Legal is here to help you in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington DC. It is our job to speak to insurance companies, and to protect you. Remember that insurance companies are not on your side. They are looking for any way they can to minimize your case, or to blame you.

Call a Pedestrian Accident Lawyer Today

If you have been hurt in a pedestrian strike involving a pickup truck, or any other vehicle, call Blaszkow Legal today for a free consultation. We represent innocent pedestrians all over the DMV, and we have the knowledge and resources to prosecute your case to get you the compensation that you deserve.

Whether you need justice for yourself, or for a family member, get Justice with Joe, and call us now.

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