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Modern safety systems are of little use in heavy SUVs

June 2, 2022

Vulnerable road users

It makes so much sense: a large, powerful SUV can do more damage than a small hatchback. Still, they thought it was a good idea in Belgium to find out if that was the case. For the large Belgian study of VIAS , all accidents in Belgium between 2017 and 2020 were analysed. The aim was to investigate the relationship between the severity of injuries in vulnerable road users and the type of vehicle. In addition, other factors were also considered, such as the age and power of a car.

Big risk

One of the main conclusions of the study is the impact of the weight of a vehicle on vulnerable road users in the event of an accident. For example, the risk of death for pedestrians and cyclists is 50% higher if they are hit by a vehicle weighing 1800 kilograms instead of 1200 kilograms.

Age and ability

The age and power of the car are two other factors that impact the severity of injuries to pedestrians and two-wheelers when struck. The older a vehicle, the higher the chance that the injuries will be more serious. The risk of serious injury is 4% higher with a 10-year-old vehicle compared to a 5-year-old vehicle. The same goes for power. Being hit by a 200 hp vehicle increases the risk of injury by 10% compared to a 120 hp vehicle.

But cars have more and more safety systems, right?

It is true that cars are becoming safer, both for the driver and for other road users, because more and more safety systems are required to be in place. According to the Vias Institute, these active and passive systems help prevent a lot of suffering, but bottom line there is little benefit. Cars are simply getting heavier and therefore more dangerous for vulnerable road users.

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