British Official Floats Idea of SUV Ban

Photo:  Rebranding Driving
Photo: Rebranding Driving

Data scientists in the U.K. are starting to figure out what we’ve known for a while now in the U.S.: SUVs are killing pedestrians.

But unlike here, British traffic safety officials might actually do something about it. A British transport safety official told Forbes that the commonwealth might even ban them.

Recent analysis by Leeds University found that drivers of vehicles with 2- to 3-liter engines killed the people they struck roughly twice as frequently as drivers of cars with engines smaller than 1.8 liters — 2.4 percent of the time vs. 1.4 percent of the time. By comparison, a 2020 Chevy Suburban is powered by a 5.3-liter engine at the smallest.

Adam Reynolds a transportation policy advisory with Britain’s Department of Transportation told Reid the agency would continue to investigate, including efforts to isolate the effect of vehicle shape and size.

“If the data does show that SUVs are twice as deadly, then ownership in urban areas should be discouraged and use within cities curtailed with a ban on new sales,” he told Reid.

U.S. researchers have estimated that SUVs are 2-3 times more likely to kill pedestrians when they strike them than sedans (cars). The effect is worse for children.

Still since Trump’s election, national traffic safety officials have slow-walked any attempt to reign in the styling choices that are killing pedestrians at highs unseen in two generations.

Meanwhile, the U.K, has about a quarter of the traffic fatalities per capita as the U.S. And a larger percentage of British traffic deaths are pedestrians, because British walk more.

6 thoughts on British Official Floats Idea of SUV Ban

  1. SUV: 4,500lbs to move 178lbs (avg. American Adult) = 25.3 weight ratio
    Midsize Car: 3,300lbs to move 178lbs = 18.5
    City Bus (with 10 pax): 33,000lbs to move 1,780lbs = 16.85
    motorcycle: 400lbs to move 178lbs = 2.25
    e-bike: 50lbs to move 178lbs = 0.28
    bike: 17.5lbs to move 178lbs = 0.09
    scooter: 10lbs to move 178lbs = 0.06

    The question is why do we need 4,500lbs of plastic, steel, gas, and glass to move a human safely when we can do it with 10lbs? What if we restricted the weight of vehicles to 1,000lbs or 500lbs (think carbon fiber)? Would more or less people die in collisions? How many trillions of dollars would we save in infrastructure costs?

  2. I don’t think it needs to be an SUV ban, cuz then someone will just build something equally unsafe and call it a cross-over.

    Similar to how we have crash tests, simply add pedestrian crash tests and structure laws to discourage vehicles that are unsafe.

  3. Southeasterner Those are great questions and ones that should have been asked and answered long ago. Many drivers who comment on line about sharing the roads with cyclists, bring up the weight disparity as some sort of dominator display, usually accenting the 2 ton, 3 ton, 5 ton weight of their truck or SUV, but rarely question why they need such a heavy vehicle and definitely would object to paying their outsized share of costs for road maintenance and road width.

  4. Martin – I don’t think that any laws to change the mix of vehicles on the road would explicitly refer to “SUV”. Instead it will reference physical aspects of the vehicle: horsepower, weight, height of hood, etc.

    If a car company can design a vehicle with safer physical parameters and still market that vehicle as a SUV then more power to them.

  5. “Data scientists in the U.K. are starting to figure out what we’ve known for a while now in the U.S.: SUVs are killing pedestrians.”

    Then arrest the SUV’s that kill pedestrians. Put the SUV on trial with a group of its SUV jury peers. If convicted, put the SUV in prison. If the crime was really grievous, then condemn the SUV to capital punishment via junkyard compactor.

    Yes, this is a “joke.” JUST like your journalistic standards. THIS is why the environmentalist movement is nothing more than a war against civilization. Pure and simple.

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