The article is based on casualty statistics from the US involving light trucks.
The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders reacted with concern, stating that the vast majority of SUVs sold in the UK and across mainland Europe are smaller, car-derived models.
Researchers claim an increase in European sales of 4x4s / SUVs poses a growing threat to pedestrians. Yet, according to latest Department for Transport figures, pedestrian deaths in the UK fell from 1,038 in 1995 to 671 in the UK last year, a drop of 35%. In the same period, sales of 4x4s / SUVs more than doubled from 80,427 to 179,439 units.
SMMT chief executive Christopher Macgowan says: “We are surprised by this message. The researchers appear to have taken a well-trodden but misleading path, using American crash test data that is entirely irrelevant to the European market. The fact is that the vast majority of SUVs and 4x4s sold here are cars, not light trucks and their safety for occupants and pedestrians is improving all the time.”
The SMMT says the independent safety body EuroNCAP results were overlooked in the report. Pedestrian protection measures are part of their robust test procedure for new cars. The British-built Honda CR-V – Britain's second best-selling SUV – scored three stars for pedestrian safety, a far better result than achieved by many smaller models.