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Pedestrian Deaths Rising from Tank-Sized Vehicles

Reporter Melissa Daniels was walking across the street to cover a council meeting at City Hall when she was struck by a white SUV. The impact knocked her 20 feet in the air and landed her in the hospital with various life-threatening injuries. Daniels remembers, “My head cracked on the pavement super, super hard. I still remember the sound of my skull hitting that pavement. It haunts me in my sleep.”

The numbers bear out an inconvenient truth: Daniels was not alone in danger. According to transportation consultants, pedestrian deaths increased by 50% between 2009 and 2019. One of the reasons why is that SUVs have become the vehicle of choice for a large percentage of US drivers. Not only are more Americans driving SUVs, but the vehicles themselves have gotten larger and larger.

The problems with heavier and larger vehicles are compounded by lowered passenger visibility, which is typically obscured by larger heights and grill sizes. Graphic designer Andy Arthur recently compared the dimensions of a 1942 M4 Sherman tank with a 2021 Ford Ranger Wildtrack, and found that in length, the two are nearly identical (17.7 feet vs. 19 feet).

Because Daniels herself drives an SUV, she hopes that other SUV drivers will take more responsibility for the additional dangers their vehicles pose on the roadway. She says, “I just try to be grateful that it wasn’t worse, because I see the statistics about how many people die because of traffic crashes. And they seem to me to be very needless deaths.”

Possible Preaching Angle:

Large vehicles can give us a false sense of security and cause us to pay less attention to those around us. God wants us to be concerned not just with our own safety, but that of those around us, especially those who are less privileged.

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