Up to 43 percent of newly registered passenger cars in the Czech Republic are in the class of sport utility vehicles (SUVs). Their popularity has been growing since 2015 when they began to replace classic family cars such as station wagons or MPVs. However, according to experts, there is a risk associated with these robust cars, where the belief of drivers in greater safety can be a threat in traffic. Clashes with pedestrians are especially problematic. This follows from the statistics of the Association of Car Importers (SDA) and ÚAMK.
“These are the preferences of customers who are opposed by carmakers. Fashion plays a certain role there, as well as a sense of security. Manufacturers must respond to this purchasing idea, while the production of SUVs is much more complicated for them,” said SDA Secretary Josef Pokorný. In the case of SUVs, manufacturers are more concerned with, for example, emissions or consumption, while the useful properties are generally better for station wagons.
According to current data, almost every second new car is an SUV. The most popular is the Škoda Kamiq, Karoq, Kodiaq, and Hyundai Tucson models.
According to Igor Sirota from the Central Automobile Club (ÚAMK), there is a certain form of naivety and simplification in that SUVs are large and therefore safe cars. However, statistics show that the safety of these cars is not significantly better than, for example, sedans. “Size alone doesn’t mean anything, many SUVs don’t even have a 4×4, reduction, or lockable differential. They’re not off-road vehicles and differ only in body shape and seating. This can create a false sense of safety that can lead to accidents. consideration of the large weight, hence the longer braking distance and the more difficult maneuvering, which is not helped by the height, “Sirota pointed out. He recalled research from Great Britain, which dealt with the connection between severe accidents and the type of cars. According to them, they clearly drive SUVs and sports cars.
Collisions between SUVs and pedestrians are particularly dangerous. “A pedestrian collision with an SUV tends to be more severe and injuries are more serious because the SUV is significantly more severe and the front of the car is more massive and hits a standing person from leg to chest,” said Eva Svobodová of Uniqa. opponents of the SUV.
According to the American Association of Road Safety Governors (GHSA), which represents state and regional highway safety authorities, pedestrian deaths in SUV accidents have risen much faster in the last decade (69 percent) than in other cars (48 percent). )
Weight, emissions, and greater risks to pedestrians have been the subject of discussions about possible reductions in SUVs. In Germany, for example, after a tragic accident in September 2019 in which four pedestrians died in Berlin, including a small child, there was a debate over whether robust sport utility vehicles had anything to do in cities. “How it will develop further is difficult to predict so far, but in Spain and France, for example, there are currently calls for significantly higher taxation of heavier vehicles, including SUVs, and higher charges for infrastructure use and so on. , “Pokorný added.