Georgia Loves Pickup Trucks — At a Cost
Few vehicles are more versatile, aesthetically pleasing, and powerful than pickup trucks. Sure, it won’t beat a Ferrari in a race, but it still packs a punch and gets you and your loved ones anywhere you need to be. When you live in a state with a lot of wide, open roads and plenty of outdoor recreational activities to have equipment for, the appeal of a car/truck hybrid one can also use as part of their campground or tailgate only increases. But, of course, if you live here in Atlanta, you know this already.
Regardless of how it may sometimes seem, not every other driver on Georgia roads has a pickup truck. About 15% of drivers here do — and that is not a small number, especially as it seems to be increasing over the years. But as useful as they can be, pickups are also notoriously dangerous to almost every passenger vehicle (and pedestrian) around them. So while we can’t outlaw pickup trucks (and why would we?), understanding the dangers surrounding them and knowing your rights after an accident can make them a little safer.
How pickup truck trends in Atlanta contribute to deadly accidents
Larger vehicles have different centers of gravity, bigger turn circles, and more blind spots, which means constant, vigilant attention is paramount to driving them safely. Recent studies show people largely prefer trucks that tout power and amenities over functional and reliable ones. In other words, people value aesthetics — and size — over safety. These purchases are happening more and more frequently all over the country, and Georgia is no exception. As a result of this sort of demand, pickups are heavier and larger than ever. Heavier, larger, less reliable pickups with inexperienced or negligent drivers is nothing short of a recipe for disaster.
What are the dangers of pickup truck accidents?
Any vehicle collision can cause serious, life-threatening injuries that require years of expensive medical intervention and accommodations. However, that does not mean the risks don’t vary due to various factors, and vehicle size is one of them. Larger, heavier vehicles are likelier to kill you in an accident and likelier to kill anyone below the average adult male height. Even in general, women are likelier to be seriously injured or killed in a car accident, but current pickup trucks especially pose a danger as their headlights can be chest-high to female pedestrians (and children, people in wheelchairs, etc.).
This matters not only because of the point of impact, but because of the way a body reacts to being hit. Jingwen Hu, an associate research professor at University of Michigan’s Transportation Research Institute, spoke with Outside Online about this very issue:
When a car strikes a cyclist, the initial impact causes severe lower-body trauma, but it’s also likely to sweep that person’s legs out from underneath them. This is significant, because as the rider slides up the hood, they’re scrubbing speed and, with it, some impact force. An SUV or truck, by contrast, is taller, so the initial impact is likely to target the pelvis or even the chest.
In addition, the front-end shape of a vehicle is vital…. Modern truck and full-size SUVs favor blocky, muscular styling at the front end, rather than the more gently sloping transition from grille to hood that cars and some compact SUVs have. Instead of sliding onto the hood when hit by a truck, the rider’s pelvis and torso rotate with a twisting, tearing motion. With a squared-off front end, Hu says, ‘it’s basically the person wrapping around the vehicle.’
In short, the damage to the body may be irreparable if a person survives at all.
If you are in an accident due to another driver’s negligence, especially if you sustain life-changing, disabling injuries, your next step after medical attention is to get an Atlanta personal injury attorney who can help.
Who is liable for my Atlanta pickup truck accident?
Georgia is an at-fault state, which means those at fault for accidents can be held liable for their damages — as long as you can prove that fault exists. An experienced Atlanta injury attorney can help prove that fault exists and will fight for you.
At Harris Lowry Manton LLP, our Atlanta lawyers are here to help. If you’ve been hurt in an accident with a pickup truck or SUV, contact us today by calling our offices or filling out our contact form. We maintain offices in Atlanta and Savannah and serve clients throughout Georgia.
One of the nation’s top trial attorneys, Jeff Harris is an award-winning litigator who handles high-profile, complex cases across a wide variety of practice areas. He excels at securing justice for clients who have been seriously injured or killed, holding responsible parties accountable for their actions as well as their negligence.
Read more about Jeffrey R. Harris here.