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The Communist plot to take away our big vehicles

This might be "the talk" American dads are most likely to avoid.


New study shows SUVS, light pickups trucks pose substantial threat to children

There aren’t enough hours in the day to be an expert on every issue (even though we’re expected to hold a strong opinion on just about everything). I prefer to stick to topics I’m already familiar with or in the process of learning. But sometimes, especially on X/Twitter, I’ll post color commentary about an issue that’s not in my wheelhouse. It’s a good way for me to keep the bigger picture of human flourishing in sight. Those topics might be childhood independence, economics, mental health, or this past week: vehicle size.

Wooo, what a hornet’s nest! One day of making jokes about truck bloat lit up my timeline with reply guys, and the algorithm rewarded me with ads from the manufacturers. 

I'm not singularly focused on vehicle size, but it's a growing issue among people who already drive badly. The #1 problem with traffic safety is driver behavior. That’s true regardless of the vehicle, and it’s why my primary focus is designing street networks to calm drivers. Slower speeds means fewer crashes. And when crashes do occur, they’re typically much less severe. 

Still, someone can do harm behind the wheel on a calm street, in a driveway, or in a parking lot. The percentage of new vehicle sales/leases for pickup trucks, SUVs, and minivans continues to rise, and so will the debate over vehicle dimensions.

Light Truck & Passenger Car Sales & Leases Chart

It’s not hard to find recent reports and commentary about the trade-offs associated with larger (and heavier) vehicles that are flooding the consumer market. 

Governors Highway Safety Association study: Larger vehicles like pickup trucks and SUVs are inherently more dangerous to pedestrians.

University of Illinois at Springfield study: Kids are eight times more likely to be killed when hit by an SUV or light truck than kids who are struck by passenger cars.

Insurance Institute for Highway Safety study: The reduced visibility in the front corners of large vehicles leads to a higher likelihood that those drivers will strike pedestrians and cyclists. Tall trucks and SUVs are 45% deadlier to pedestrians. 

Social media response: Sounds like Communist propaganda. I’m better dead than red.

Frontover Fatalities

Every year, thousands of children are hurt or killed because a driver moving forward very slowly didn’t see them. These incidents for the most part take place in driveways or parking lots. —

Once the X algorithm started putting truck stories in my feed, one was an article from Canada about an 82-year-old woman pinned under a truck in a Walmart parking lot. It turns out that she was walking through the parking lot, as we all do, when someone driving a tall truck drove right over and killed her. 

News article

It made me wonder how often people demonstrate that type of negligence driving in and out of their parking spaces. These are the type of incidents that we’re told can’t possibly happen because vehicles have pedestrian warning cameras and sensors.

parking lot

Look at this picture from one of the news outlets and consider:

  1. The top of the cop's head is at the bottom of the driver's window. There’s a lot that can happen down low that the driver will never see.

  2. Anyone can drive this truck without special training. If you have the down payment, insurance, and a standard license, you’re good to go.

That bothers me, and I’m the type of person who hates extra layers of rules. I don’t want to control what people drive, but I remember the first time I drove a moving van with zero experience or training. I’d never driven something even remotely that large in an empty parking lot, let alone in mixed traffic or through a gas station.

Putting already careless and reckless drivers in large vehicles without any sort of demonstrated skill is asking for trouble.

I remember being a boy in my late teens and early 20s, and I was definitely not thinking about people walking on sidewalks or crossing streets when I was zipping around corners. I wasn’t thinking about families walking through parking lots when I was rushing to pick up a video rental and pizza.

Both of my kids are driving age, and several of their friends drive SUVs and tall trucks. It’s nerve racking.  Related article

Whatever their nose shape, pickups, SUVs and vans with a hood height greater than 40 inches are about 45% more likely to cause fatalities in pedestrian crashes than cars and other vehicles with a hood height of 30 inches or less and a sloping profile. —Insurance Institute for Highway Safety

The largest trucks and buses in the world can be driven without incident. Driver behavior is the core problem. I have zero interest in banning trucks, SUVs, etc. My interest is human flourishing, which is why it's important to talk about vehicle designs that are contributing to preventable injuries and deaths. We’ve got to be able to talk about how vehicle designs now make it much harder to see what's happening outside the vehicle.

Motorcycle under a truck
You'll be able to park our 2025 model on crosswalks, and pedestrians can walk underneath without complaining.

Here’s what Ford literature says about their big vehicles:

The 2024 F150 is equipped with a pedestrian detection system that uses sensors and cameras to identify pedestrians in the vehicle's path. If a pedestrian is detected, the system can alert the driver and may even apply automatic emergency braking to help avoid or mitigate a collision.

Here's what's happening outside of the Ford marketing department:

  • Ford F-150 is the most crashed vehicle in America. It’s crashed more than any car, truck, or SUV.

  • Ford F-Series are involved in about 25% of fatal crashes involving pickups.

Speaking of marketing, I took the liberty of writing the copy for a new GMC commercial:

We designed a truck where you don't have to see any of those annoying people around you. 

Sit back in the soundproof, climate-controlled cabin, watch something on the infotainment screen, and tune out the screams of pedestrians.

Visit your local GMC dealer today.

Jokes aside, people struggle to talk about trade-offs.

Buy whatever you want and drive whatever you want. The product isn’t the point. I'm not interested in outlawing big vehicles. Sell your home and live on the road in an old tour bus. I don't care. What I do care about is that operators of any size vehicle navigate streets, driveways, and parking lots safely. 

Ok, back to the jokes.

Coming 2025, the new King of the Road model


• Enough towing capacity to relocate your home without having to pack and unpack. 

 More horsepower than that measly F-Series next to you at the red light.

• Increased torque capable of uprooting street lights and bus shelters.

• Off-road capabilities so smooth, you'll effortlessly glide over sidewalks and Jersey barriers.

• Pedestrian and cyclist sensors that automatically trigger a deafening horn to keep riff-raff away from the king of the road.

• Luxurious seating and customizable infotainment system, because you've got better things to do than watch the road and your kids need their screen time.

Inside of truck

 Original Article LINK


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