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Of Monstrous Proportions - The Dangers of SUVs

Updated on June 12, 2012

Sheri French was a junior philosopher, an avid swing dancer, and a lover of strawberries. She was an outstanding student, active in many extra-curriculars and always eager to learn. People loved Sheri for her friendly, outgoing personality and her inability to sit still. Certain things made her especially happy, such as good food, her beloved boyfriend John, and her 1995 Dodge Neon she had bought with her own money.

It was this Neon she was driving along Highway 12/121 on February 17, 2006 - five months after starting college at Cal Poly, a year and a half after she and John had started dating, and a month before her 19th birthday. Sheri and John were making their way home from a belated Valentine's Day outing when Sheri realized she had forgotten something at the restaurant they had visited. She turned the tiny car around and before anyone could react, a 1999 Chevrolet Suburban rolled up and crashed into the back of the Neon. John was killed instantly and Sheri was pronounced dead a few hours later.

Accidents such as this are tragic, but unfortunately they are not uncommon. Sport utility vehicles are involved in a great number of accidents every year, and many critics and safety experts are pointing the finger at the large sizes of the SUVs for causing such extensive damage. The sizes of SUVs render them dangerous to smaller vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists, and even their own occupants. Thus, SUVs should be made smaller to decrease the dangers they pose.

A General Threat

SUV owners find the large sizes of the vehicles desirable. According to Dale Wickell, a 27-year service manager for Toyota, people who buy sport utility vehicles want a combination of pulling capacity and passenger seating, cargo room, and offroading capabilities (Wickell). SUVS are seen as status symbols, and the vehicles of choice of the more affluent members of society. Also, people find comfort in the safety suggested by the massiveness of an SUV. Studies have shown that the bigger the vehicle, the safer its occupants. "Traveling in a larger, heavier vehicle reduces your risk of being killed in a crash," said Dr. Leonard Evans, president of the International Traffic Medicine Association. Pediatrician Dr. Greg Gulbransen said, "I bought this car because it was the safest thing to do for my family" (qtd. in "SUVs: Blind to the Danger").

However, the large size of SUVs can be reasonably attributed to deaths from accidents in which they were involved. Sport utility vehicles in their massiveness can cause serious damage to smaller vehicles. According to Hampton C. Gabler and William T. Hollowell of the National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA), crashes between large vehicles and cars accounted for 5,259 of the 10,497 total fatalities in 1996 while there were 4,013 deaths from crashes between two cars and 1,225 between two light trucks or vans (3). 81 percent of the 5,259 fatalities between light trucks or vans (LTVs) and cars were of those who were in the car. Frontal impact collisions involving LTVs made for 59.7 percent of fatalities in the frontal crashes. LTVs caused nearly 56.9 percent of all deaths in side-impact crashes when they were the striking vehicles, and car occupants are 27 times more likely to be killed than those in SUVs. All of this is in spite of the fact that SUVs accounted for only a third of all registered vehicles in that year (Hampton and Gabler 3).

Safety issues between SUVs and smaller vehicles are not limited to accidents and collisions alone. For instance, the height of an SUV presents a safety issue in that its headlights are placed higher than on a car. Many SUVs have their headlights mounted 36 to 39 inches above the ground, which is at the level of a small car's side mirror. The headlights of an SUV can reflect back from the car mirror into the driver's eyes and can create a safety hazard. And according to a study by the Society of Automotive Engineers, a membership society dedicated to advancing mobility engineering, the glare from headlights when they are at eye-level can be 10 to 20 times worse than recommended amounts ("SUVs: Escalating Risks On The Highway").

The sizes of SUVs also make them dangerous to pedestrians, bicycles, and motorcycles. Data compiled from 1995 to 2001 showed that if an SUV instead of a car hit a pedestrian or bicyclist, fatalities are 82 percent more likely and the probability of serious injury rises 12 percent. In "The ‘Arms Race' on American Roads: The Effect of Sport Utility Vehicles and Pickup Trucks on Traffic Safety," by UCSD economics professor Michelle White, a motorcyclist's probability of being killed rose 125 percent and serious injury was 35 percent more likely (12). The danger lies in the fact that the height of a sport utility vehicle makes the point of impact at a pedestrian's upper body or head rather than the knees. Additionally, if a car hits a pedestrian or a cyclist, they can be thrown onto the hood of the car, which is relatively soft; an SUV is too tall for this to happen. An SUV's size also limits the driver's visibility of the area surrounding the vehicle, especially the back. This makes it difficult for the driver to see objects behind the SUV, such as children or pets. CBS Evening News reported that in 2002, nearly 30 children were run over by SUVs that were backing up. Blind spots increase with the size of the vehicle and the height of the rear window; thus, the blind spots of the midsize vehicle average about 10 feet back, while in SUVs they reach behind more than 14 feet ("SUVS: Blind to the Danger").

Despite the increased safety of drivers and passengers of SUVs made for by the vehicles' large sizes, SUVs can still prove dangerous to their occupants. According to the SUV Info Link, a site dedicated to helping consumers decide what type of vehicle will meet their needs, sport utility vehicles are not required to meet the same safety standards as passenger cars and are therefore more vulnerable to danger. "Less rigid rules mean occupants of SUVs are not protected by the side-impact crash safety standards or strength requirements for bumpers required on standard passenger cars" ("SUVs: Escalating Risks On The Highway"). The NHTSA found that in 2003, "people driving or riding in a sport utility vehicle in 2003 were nearly 11 percent more likely to die in an accident than people in cars" (qtd. in Hakim). Nearly half of SUV deaths are caused when the vehicle rolls over. A report by the NHTSA concluded that SUVs have the highest death rate of any class of vehicles, mainly because of their rollover rates ("Gains Seen in Redesign of S.U.V.'s"). A vehicle's height determines how likely it is to roll over; the likelihood is greater as the height increases. As SUVs are designed to have a high ground clearance, they have a great tendency to tip over. Research by the NHTSA has shown that SUVs are three times more likely to roll than smaller passenger cars ("SUVs: Escalating Risks On The Highway"). It was also reported that in 2000, "passenger cars weighing 3,500 pounds had 106 deaths per million registered vehicles in the year 2000, while SUVs of that weight had 146." (qtd. in Valdes-Dapena).

Behind the Risks

There are different theories as to the effects of vehicle size in accidents. Robert W. Crandall of the Brookings Institution and John D. Graham of the Harvard School of Public Health claim that "reduction in vehicle size caused many additional traffic deaths and injuries" (Crandall and Graham). Another points out that while greater proportions increase the safety for occupants of SUVs, they reduce that of other vehicles, pedestrians, and cyclists. When some vehicles increase in size, traffic safety may fall because more crashes include vehicles of different sizes. This is known as vehicle incompatibility.

Vehicle incompatibility is often cited as the primary cause of death and injury in collisions between SUVs and cars. Klas Engstrand, a researcher for the Engineering Research and Development Bureau, says that vehicle compatibility is "a combination of crashworthiness and aggressivity and describes the overall performance of a vehicle when involved in single or multiple vehicle collisions," crashworthiness referring to a vehicle's ability to protect its own occupants and aggressivity describing the safety to the occupants of the colliding vehicle (Engstrand, 1). Incompatibility has become more of an issue as large vehicles have come to represent half of all sales of new vehicles. Brian O'Neill, president of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, said, "The fleet is becoming more mismatched" (qtd. in Newman). A 1998 study by the NHTSA found that the shift in favor from cars to SUVs has made for about 2,000 more deaths in accidents per year - five percent of the nation's annual fatalities ("SUVs: Escalating Risks On The Highway"). After analyzing 20 years of vehicle ownership and fatal accident records, White concluded, "When a million light trucks replace an equal number of cars, between 34 and 93 additional car occupants, pedestrians, bicyclists or motorcyclists are killed each year" (1). She placed the value of those lives between $242 million and $652 million a year, which she found by multiplying the average number of deaths per fatal crash (1.15) and the average value of a life ($7 million, based on factors such as one's income and workers compensation) by the number of fatal crashes avoided before the replacement of cars by SUVs (30), and the number of crashes avoided after replacement (80) (White 17).

The increased damage caused by SUVs results in large part to their designs. On average, SUVs are built to ride eight inches higher than a car. In addition, the rails of an SUV's larger frame are made of steel and are more in number, making the SUV more rigid. Most cars have only one rail ("SUVs: Escalating Risks On The Highway"). Also, "while cars are designed with ‘crumple zones' to absorb the impact of a crash, SUVs absorb less of the force of the crash and transfer more to cars" (White 2). These factors combined with the large size of an SUV increase the degree of danger it poses. For instance, the NHTSA found that an SUV can "sail right over the chassis of smaller vehicles and tear into the passenger compartment. An even stiffer vehicle is less likely to crumple in a crash and more likely to penetrate the other vehicle, especially if it ‘overrides' its doors or bumpers" (qtd. in Newman). A 1999 NHTSA study illustrated the negligible effects of an SUV's weight in an accident by crashing a Ford Explorer into a Honda Accord. The Explorer caused more damage to the Accord, despite the fact that they were approximately of the same weight. This is important to consider because automakers claim that it was the weight, not the size or the height, that makes SUVs dangerous to smaller vehicles ("SUVs: Escalating Risks On The Highway"). Gabler and Hollowell concluded from their study of vehicle aggressivity by vehicle category studies that "vehicle weight is not always the overriding factor dictating aggressivity... The higher aggressivity of the small pickup class may be due to its greater structural stiffness and its higher ride height" (7).

Decreasing the Danger

Studies have shown that decreasing the size of a sport utility vehicle can greatly reduce the damage it can cause. The results of a study released in February 2006 by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety found that by lowering SUVs by as little as half an inch, the number of deaths in side-impact collisions fell by nearly 50 percent. Alterations such as this are made to reduce the likelihood that an SUV will slide over a car's doorsill and bumper and reach into the car's passenger compartment. Also, the chance of a belted driver being killed in a frontal collision with an SUV was reduced by a fifth after these changes were made. These findings mean that 600 to 800 lives could be saved every year in the United States alone if these alterations are fully enforced ("Gains Seen in Redesign of S.U.V.'s"). Also, "data from a 1997 NHTSA study suggests that reducing the average vehicle weight of all SUVs by 100 pounds might marginally reduce annual automobile-related fatalities" (qtd. in Adler). The Independent Insurance Agents of America, a nonprofit trade association representing a number of insurance agents and brokers nationwide, found in a 1998 poll that nearly 80 percent of SUV owners feel "very strongly" or "somewhat strongly" that automakers should make changes to SUVS and other large vehicles to reduce the risks for car occupants ("SUVs: Escalating Risks On The Highway").

To make SUVs more compatible with other cars, manufacturers have been making design changes other than shrinking or lowering the vehicles to make them more compatible with other cars. Ford added a front beam and a rear tow hitch to prevent other vehicles from sliding under the hefty Expedition in a crash ("SUVs: Escalating Risks On The Highway"). The Mercedes M-Class has its bumper lowered nearly to the levels of many cars (Newman). Also, Ford and Toyota have installed "blocker beams" behind the bumpers of their SUVs, like the Ford Expedition and Toyota Sequoia; doing so lowers the impact point in a collision. However, automakers are holding back from making sweeping alterations because of difficulties and costs. For example, adding standard equipment side-impact air bags and "curtain" air bags that come down from the roof lining to aid in rollovers can add up to $1,000 to the cost of a vehicle (Newman). Also, technology and devices have been developed to offset the dangers created by an SUV's large size, but many of them have proved ineffective or unrealistic. Sensors have been placed on the back bumpers of certain models of SUVs in order to avoid back-over accidents, but they are yet to prove their effectiveness ("SUVs: Blind to the Danger").

The question of increasing the size of cars themselves to reduce compatibility problems has arisen as well. The government has considered this in its studies of possible solutions to vehicle incompatibility, such as requiring the load-bearing structures of all passenger vehicles to be at compatible heights (Newman). Sam Kazman of the Competitive Enterprise Institute said, "Upsizing the car fleet may well be the most important step we could take toward improving safety" (Kazman). Nevertheless, owning a car is a matter of aesthetics, practicality, and/or financial status. People may prefer smaller vehicles for their fuel efficiency and their convenience in handling and size. A main issue, however, is that many people cannot afford large vehicles. Rutgers University law professors Howard Latin and Bobby Kasolas noted that buying larger, more "defensive vehicles" may mitigate the issue of incompatibility, but "SUV buyers are typically affluent people" while "the random victims of SUV collisions will be distributed across the entire income range, including many poor people who cannot afford . . . an SUV" (Latin and Kasolas). There is little that can be done about the tens of millions of large SUVs that are already on the freeways and that serve as potential dangers to drivers and pedestrians alike. However, changes can still be made in SUVs in the future in order to lessen such danger. As sport utility vehicles in the great magnitude of their sizes are so dangerous to people on and off the roads, the best way to prevent death and injury from accidents is to downsize the SUVs themselves. By doing so, the chances are better for people like Sheri French to graduate from college, marry the loves of their lives, and continue bringing joy into the hearts of those who love them.

Works Cited

Adler, Jonathan H. "Easterbrook Off the Rails." National Review Online. 20 Jan. 2003. 24 Feb. 2006.

Crandall, Robert W., and John D. Graham. "The Effect of Fuel Economy Standards on Automobile Safety." 32 Journal of Law and Economics 1. Apr. 1989. 4 Mar. 2006.

Engstrand, Klas. "Vehicle Aggressivity." Worcester Polytechnic Institute. 1999: 1. 4 Mar. 2006.

Gabler, Hampton C., and William T. Hollowell. SAE Paper 980908: The Aggressivity of Light Trucks and Vans in Traffic Crashes. 26 Feb. 1998: 3-7. 28 Feb. 2006.

"Gains Seen in Redesign of S.U.V.'s." 7 Mar. 2006.

Hakim, Danny. "Safety Gap Grows Wider Between S.U.V.'s and Cars." The New York Times Business. 17 Aug. 2004. 5 Mar. 2006.

Kazman, Sam. "Large Vehicles Are The Solution, Not The Problem." Competitive Enterprise Institute. 12 Mar. 1998. 4 Mar. 2006.

Latin, Howard, and Bobby Kasolas. "Against SUV Collision Risks." 82 Boston University Law Review 5. Dec 2002. 4 Mar. 2006.

Newman, Richard J. "Big, Bad Brutes?" U.S. News & World Report. 10 Mar. 2003. 24 Feb. 2006.

"SUVs: Blind To The Danger." CBS Evening News. Host Jane Clayson. CBS. 4 Dec. 2002.

"SUVs: Escalating Risks On The Highway." The SUV Info Link. 24 Feb. 2006.

Valdes-Dapena, Peter. "SUVs: How dangerous are they?" CNNMoney. 15 Jan. 2003. 24 Feb. 2006.

White, Michelle J. The ‘Arms Race' on American Roads: The Effect of Sport Utility Vehicles and Pickup Trucks on Traffic Safety. Nov 2002: 1-17. 6 Mar. 2006.

Wickell, Dale. "5 Reasons Why People Buy Sport Utility Vehicles." 8 Mar. 2006. 8 Mar. 2006.


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    • Jason R. Manning profile image

      Jason R. Manning 

      7 years ago from Sacramento, California

      Yes, of course, it is the SUV's fault. Yes, of course it is the Gun's fault. Yes, of course it is the cigarettes fault. Let’s never, ever blame non-attentive, irresponsible or unfit to drive humans.

      Glassvisage, I understand that you wrote this for a college assignment; however, even college assignments require some kind of balance to be considered reasonable. As you can see, there are hyper egalitarian weasels who would forsake all individuality so we can all march toward Utopia. Your college assignment fleshes out the true biased of conformists. What anti-SUV people fail to recognize is commercial need for vehicles with above 8800 lbs GVW. Though I know logic makes no difference to the other side, it is always worth noting the gross ignorance regarding human fallibility versus proper training and regulation. Cheers.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Looking at one of the latest IIHS reports on fatality rates from 6/9/11 for 2005-08 vehicle models ( "minivans have the best record with a driver death rate of 25 per million registration years. SUVs aren’t far behind at 28. Pickups average 52 driver deaths per million registration years. Cars average 56, but smaller cars fare worse than bigger ones. For example, 4-door minicars have a death rate of 82, compared with 46 for very large 4-doors."

      “The rollover risk in SUVs used to outweigh their size/weight advantage, but that’s no longer the case, thanks to ESC,” says Anne McCartt, the Institute’s senior vice president for research.

      "It’s not just weight that gives SUVs an advantage. It’s also their height and other factors. When cars and SUVs of similar weight are compared, the SUVs have lower death rates." This is most likely due to SUV's higher height which helps protect occupants better in collisions such as side-impact.

      In previous studies without side impact air bags "Side impacts are even more hazardous for the automobile occupants than are frontal crashes. In multi-vehicle crashes, when a car is struck by an SUV in a side-impact collision, the occupants of the car are 27 times more likely to die."

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Another reason I'm re-thinking purchasing a SUV: there is an increasing amount of traffic and aggressive driving in which cars and trucks are making abrupt lane changes without signaling, tailgating, speeding, people preventing drivers from merging, more cell phone usage, etc. This leads to increased chances of accidents and roll-overs. I would rather be in a vehicle that has a lower center of gravity in these conditions, especially at 65+ mph.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      According to, "electronic stability control (ESC) reduces the risk of fatal single-vehicle rollovers by 75 percent for SUVs and by 72 percent for cars." Before this technology became available, I wouldn't even consider purchasing an SUV. Over the past 10 years, I've seen about a half a dozen SUV's laying upside down on the highways, some of them in dry conditions.

      I know of someone who was recently killed in an SUV after getting rear ended by a semi at stop light, causing the SUV to roll. This is another fact that SUV drivers should realize: there's always something bigger on the road that can kill you; a smaller car can also kill you at high speeds, even at low speeds if you're not wearing a seat belt.

      Some mid-size to large passenger cars can weigh as much or are heavier than some of the SUV's and cross-overs available today. I'm debating whether or not to buy a heavier SUV such as an Expedition or Durango because I mainly drive on dangerous two lane roads in which I technically would be more likely to survive in a SUV during a head on collision with another SUV or car of a similar weight or smaller. Someone near my work was also recently killed in a passenger car after hitting a pickup truck.

      I've never had major issues with front wheel drive in MN, but have been in a somewhat dangerous situation being stuck for a couple minutes with my front end hanging out in an intersection after heavy snow. Even with ESC and four-wheel drive, I'm still debating purchasing an SUV since I also drive on higher speed roads (70-75mph). The higher insurance and gas prices are also an issue; but I do value my life more than the cost. In the end, my next vehicle I'll probably go with another heavy large passenger car or AWD cross-over with ESC which will will be safer overall than a SUV, especially at high speeds.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      SUVs and the people who drive them suck. They are the most arrogant pieces of garbage ever. Why on earth would you want to drive an ugly boxy vehicle that handles like crap? Are people these days really that stupid? What ever happened to common sense?

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      My suv saved my life, I hit a horse driving 55 mph and if I would have been in a car I would have not been here today! I will be getting another suv and not a car.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Any fullsize van is bigger than any SUV, with bigger blind spots. Especially the cargo vans without rear windows.

    • glassvisage profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Northern California

      Thank you again RL, and thank you ethernetgoldmine for your suggestion. What a topic to take on these days!

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      There are far too many people blabbing on their cellphones or texting while piloting a 3000 pound battering ram at high speed along the highway. Please do a post on the dangers of cell phone use.

    • RLSumner profile image


      9 years ago from Beaufort S.C.

      You're very welcome. The ability to be civil in disagreement is what truly defines all that is American.

    • glassvisage profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Northern California

      Thank you, RL, for sharing your thoughts on my Hub while remaining respectful and clear.

    • RLSumner profile image


      9 years ago from Beaufort S.C.

      The basic mindset of this entire hub is what's wrong with this nation. Every half wit seems poised on perfecting the human race, against it's will, at the cost of individual freedom. The tragic tale that you began this article with is just that, a tragic tale. The loss of human life is always tragic, but the only guarantee in life is the fact that it ends. Fate did not find her because she was involved in a wreck with an SUV. Fate found her because it was simply her time. All of our days are numbered. When my day comes, and they plant me in the garden, I sincerely hope people don't waste precious time. Going on and on, debating over whether it was the cigarettes or the cheese burgers that extinguished my life and who to point the finger at. Either way, it's my choice to eat the burgers and smoke the cigarettes. It's also my choice to drive what I like. These choices have consequences. Along with all the other choices I make. I make them, no one else is going to make them for me. I assume the burden when I make the choice. Extra taxes or limiting the production of things to persuade me away from my choices is a direct violation of my rights. This is the way of a free people. This is the way of a free nation. You are just as much of an American as I and the same rights apply to you. I implore you to think like an American. To be different without being invasive. This is the way of the one mighty nation under all mighty God.

    • glassvisage profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Northern California

      Cool john m, thanks for being nice about that.

    • profile image

      john m 

      9 years ago

      and did you know that all germans kill jews and all gays have aids, because with the trend of this article, that would fit in nicely. i mean holy shit, the level of biased crap in this literally disgusts me. i mean yes, suvs are as a fact slower to react, and easier to tip. however i also find it hard to believe that "sheri french" looked both ways, determined it was safe to turn, then went and magically got fucking hit by the suv the materialized out of your ass! jesus christ instead of blaming cars, maybe people should fucking stop being complete idiots, and then blaming everything and anything else. or they cannot, and i will not argue, but i can assure you that given the trend, the de-evolution of mankind is right around the corner.


      your friendly neighborhood punk

    • glassvisage profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Northern California

      Thank you to the above commenters! A lot of differences of opinion here! True, this article may be biased, probably because it was written as an assignment addressing argumentative writing :)

      However, I stand by my resources, because while they may not be "industry-related," I do think that news periodicals are still credible. They may "sensationalize" news, but in this case, only as far as the stories they cover, because the facts and numbers are still true. But I appreciate your experience and your input.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Before I say anything else, allow me to give my credentials. I am a professional in the automotive repair industry. I am a trained mechanic, and have worked in an auto parts store for over ten years as a Counterman. I have also been a taxi driver for the last four years. I have seen first hand the results of many accidents, and have spoken with many vehicle owners. This will have a bearing on what I say. As for the above article, I disagree. First, I find the article to be highly biased. Whoever wrote it was specifically attacking SUVs. Five of the fourteen sources cited, approximately one third, are not industry-standard, or even industry-related, reports. They are news periodicals, and they have a propensity to "sensationalize" their articles. As a quote I once read about the journalism profession says, "If it bleeds, it leads." Let's face it, people would much rather read a "sensational" story about a tragedy on the roads, than they would a simple reporting of said accident. By focusing on the negatives and discrepancies, it will draw (often heated) criticism of the subject in question. However, unless the accident was caused by something the average person wouldn't do (i.e., drunk driving, street racing, a "get-away" from a crime committed) they will likely not focus on the cause of the accident. And in many cases, the accident would have been avoidable if the drivers were more educated. That is one very important thing. Many people who buy these SUVs have never driven one before. On a basic level, when you drive it, you know that it is not the same as driving a car. But without the proper knowledge, even going so far as to say training, when the time comes where people have to react, they will react as if they are driving a much different vehicle. They generally fail to realize that 1) SUVs take considerably longer to stop than cars; 2) SUVs take longer to START moving than cars; 3) SUVs turn wider than cars. They are, on the whole, slower to respond to driver input, and for nothing more than simple physics, namely, the laws of inertia. Not only are SUV drivers not always aware of these limitations, the drivers of non-SUVs are even less so. The average person, who was taught to drive in a car, and has driven only cars, when put behind the wheel of an SUV will, when push comes to shove, react incorrectly. First, they have to leave greater distances between themselves and the vehicle ahead than they would if they were in a car. Second, and most important, they need to pay more attention to their surroundings. And ALL drivers, but ESPECIALLY those in SUVs, MUST be made more aware of the limitations of the safety systems that vehicles commonly have these days. THE most commonly misunderstood vehicle safety system today is the anti-lock brake system, more commonly known as ABS. In fact, many people don't even know what ABS means, and are not even sure if their vehicle has it. And part of the problem is with the system name itself. People believe that it means their vehicle cannot lock it's wheels, and therefore cannot skid out of control, and as a result, they drive much more aggressively. THEY COULD NOT BE FARTHER FROM THE TRUTH! I am in the process of writing safety articles for drivers, and one is specifically targeted at SUV drivers. I'll post them on this site when they are complete. But the biggest problem on our roads today is NOT the vehicles being driven, rather, it is the people driving them, and, to an extent, the people driving around them. I have seen many people in small cars take their chances by maneuvering dangerously around SUVs. That in itself accounts for a good number of accidents.

      The other thing the article fails to fully take into account is the numbers. Yes, accidents involving SUVs are up, but that's because the number of both drivers in general and SUV drivers in particular has increased over the last decade. The people who previously owned cars but who now own SUVs haven't gotten off the road, they've switched vehicles. So the numbers cited are somewhat skewed, as that factor is not obviously taken into account. If you have 100 drivers, and 25 of them have SUVs, then there is a one-in-four chance that you will have an accident involving an SUV. If you add 100 more drivers, another 25 of whom own SUVs, AND if 25 of the original 100 switch to SUVs, you have just doubled your vehicle population, and TRIPLED the SUV population, yet the chance of getting involved in an accident with an SUV is LESS than DOUBLE! In fact, you have only increased by half the chance of being involved in an accident with an SUV. The chance is still less than one-in-three. Numbers are important, but they can be skewed. In the above example, you could simply say that the chance of an accident with an SUV increased, and it's absolutely true. But neglecting the rest of the numbers is just as harmful, if not more so. You could also say that the numbers of SUVs has tripled(!!!!!) and that would ALSO be the truth. But by neglecting to note that the total number of drivers had doubled, and that more of them bought cars than SUVs, you are allowing people to draw a dangerous conclusion. You are also misleading them. And I feel that that has happened with this article. It is misleading, whether intentionally or not I cannot say, but based on the overall tone, I would assume so, and it is a biased attack by somebody with an apparent agenda. At the very least, it is anything BUT a neutral, dispassionate article. As I said, when I finish writing some safety articles, I will post them on the site. I hope that you people, and many others, will read them and pay attention. They may even help to shed some light on this subject. ---Steve---

    • tonymac04 profile image

      Tony McGregor 

      10 years ago from South Africa

      Surprised that no-one has commented on this excellent Hub since Ralph 13 months ago!

      SUVs or 4X4s are a menace on the roads and just too resource-hungry. In South Africa they have become, as eslsewhere I guess, a major status symbol with few of them ever doing anything more than running children to school. The closest most of them get to off-road activity is turning off the street into the drive-ways of their well-heeled owners in up-market suburbs.

      Thanks for this well-informed and well researched Hub.

      Love and peace


    • Ralph Deeds profile image

      Ralph Deeds 

      11 years ago from Birmingham, Michigan

      There are way too many SUVs on the road. They are gas hogs and, you pointed out, quite dangerous to people in smaller vehicles. Every morning when I go out to get my newspapers two or three huge SUVs come down my street, each with a driver but no passengers. Good hub!


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