Pickup Trucks Lead in Crash Fatalities

Auto Accident

There were approximately 9.75 million vehicles that were involved in traffic crashes reported by police in 2012. Among those crashes pickup trucks have the highest rate of occupant fatalities among all passenger vehicle types, according to the US Department of Transportation.

Those who are involved in accidents involving passenger vehicles often secure substantial recoveries to compensate for their injuries. For example in 2014:

  • A jury in Sacramento, CA, returned a personal injury verdict of $3,695,978 to a single mother of three young girls for injuries suffered in a crash, when a diabetic driver blacked out due to low blood sugar and slammed into her car.
  • A Texas jury returned a verdict of $28.4 million to a mother and daughter for injuries sustained as passengers in a company vehicle that entered an intersection on a yellow light and was hit by another vehicle. Both women had to undergo surgery for back and neck injuries. The driver had not had driver safety training.
  • A Pasadena, CA, jury awarded $3,102,463 to a woman who suffered a ruptured cervical disc as the result of a low speed, rear end car accident. She was a passenger in a vehicle that was stopped at a red light and was struck from behind.

Fatality rates increased for light trucks. Among light-truck categories, fatality rates increased for pickup trucks and vans (2% and 7% respectively). However, fatality rates decreased for SUVs by 2 percent.

The types of motor vehicle crash deaths varied across states in 2012. For example: 

  • North Dakota had one of the lowest percentages of deaths involving car occupants (28 percent) and the highest percentage of deaths involving occupants of SUVs and pickups (46 percent).
  • In contrast, New Jersey had relatively high proportions of car occupant deaths (38 percent) and pedestrian deaths (26 percent), and a relatively low percentage of deaths involving SUV or pickup occupants (14 percent).  
  • The highest percentage of motorcyclist deaths occurred in the District of Columbia, Hawaii, and New Hampshire (27 percent), and the percentage of pedestrian deaths was highest in the District of Columbia (47 percent).

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