The fatality and injury risk of light truck impacts with pedestrians in the United States

Accid Anal Prev. 2004 Mar;36(2):295-304. doi: 10.1016/s0001-4575(03)00007-1.


In the United States, passenger vehicles are shifting from a fleet populated primarily by cars to a fleet dominated by light trucks and vans (LTVs). Because light trucks are heavier, stiffer, and geometrically more blunt than passenger cars, they pose a dramatically different type of threat to pedestrians. This paper investigates the effect of striking vehicle type on pedestrian fatalities and injuries. The analysis incorporates three major sources of data, the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS), the General Estimates System (GES), and the Pedestrian Crash Data Study (PCDS). The paper presents and compares pedestrian impact risk factors for sport utility vehicles, pickup trucks, vans, and cars as developed from analyses of US accident statistics. Pedestrians are found to have a two to three times greater likelihood of dying when struck by an LTV than when struck by a car. Examination of pedestrian injury distributions reveals that, given an impact speed, the probability of serious head and thoracic injury is substantially greater when the striking vehicle is an LTV rather than a car.

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Traffic / classification
  • Accidents, Traffic / statistics & numerical data*
  • Automobiles / classification*
  • Automobiles / statistics & numerical data*
  • Causality
  • Humans
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Walking / statistics & numerical data*
  • Wounds and Injuries / classification
  • Wounds and Injuries / epidemiology*