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British Official Floats Idea of SUV Ban

3:55 PM PDT on August 21, 2019

A rear-bikecam shot of the SUV of a motorist who punishment passed, honked, and shouted at Streetsblog’s editor back in 2017. Photo: Streetsblog/Rudick

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.

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