What’s Wrong with Electric Trucks?

Some regard vehicles such as the GMC Hummer EV (9,000-pound) and the Ford F-150 Lightning (6,500-pound) as a success in the fight against climate change, with the possibility to convert the country’s massive truck-loving population. The difficulty is that, while these trucks help to reduce the environmental damage caused by automobiles, they also exacerbate another public health issue: traffic violence. The automobile industry is going green by designing vehicles that will turn our streets crimson.

Traffic crashes cause the death of 1.35 million people worldwide each year, including almost 40,000 in the United States, which has historically had the highest traffic death rate among high-income countries. They are the world’s top cause of death for young people and children. In the United States, Black and Indigenous people, as well as older folks and bikers, are more prone to be killed in traffic accidents. Between the years 2015 and 2030, non-fatal and fatal crashes are expected to cost the global economy $1.8 trillion.

Huge automobiles are mostly to blame in the United States for rising fatality tolls. Cars have grown larger and more deadly over the years, even while practically all other technology has shrunk, from laptops to cell phones. SUVs and the light trucks are now so big that they’re compared to WWII tanks and many grumble that they’ve outgrown their garages. They’ve grown in size, but they’ve also grown in weight. The average weight of automobiles involved in fatal crashes grew by 11% between 2000 and 2019. For example, one brand new GMC Hummer EV surpasses the Brooklyn Bridge’s 3-ton weight restriction by 50%. Larger, heavier cars have longer stopping distances and crash with more force when colliding.

These massive personal transportation machines tower over our roadways, necessitating drivers climbing up steps to reach their seats. Their increasingly tall hoods and flat fronts generate front blind zones that are two to three times greater than a sedan’s; in one experiment, 18 children were seated in front of an SUV, and the massive hood completely obscured them from the driver. This raises the likelihood of “frontover crashes,” which occur when a vehicle driving forward slowly collides with someone the driver cannot see. The majority of frontover crash victims are between the ages of one and two, and during the 1990s, the large bulk of frontover fatalities have featured an SUV, van, or even light truck. According to a recent study published in the Journal of Transportation Economics, over 8,000 pedestrians would be alive today if all light vehicles were replaced with automobiles between 2000 and 2019.

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