SUVs continue to maul passenger cars

Via Slashdot this morning, there's a report from Physics Today (here's the PDF of the report) studying the physics of SUVs (aka, 'light trucks') and passenger cars on the road. The results aren't a super-huge shock: "Light trucks cannot safely coexist with passenger cars under existing conditions. The problem becomes particularly urgent as more and more light trucks are used simply as car substitutes." The study goes on to illustrate the interaction of SUVs and passenger cars in crashes:


"...A driver's risk of death in a typical car depends on the type of vehicle whose front hits his [sic] left side. The risk doesn't change much from the subcompact cars to large cars, even though large cars are about 1.6 times as heavy as subcompacts. But being hit by a sport utility vehicle (SUV) more than doubles the struck driver's risk."

Also interesting to note is this diagram showing the US death rates as compared to other nations' death rates on the road:
Graph of car death rates in various countries

It's a pretty academic read, but chock full of solid stats and info for people concerned about the looming behemoths.

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