Vehicle front-end geometry and in-depth pedestrian injury outcomes

Monfort, Samuel S. / Hu, Wen / Mueller, Becky C.
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety
November 2023

Objective: Large passenger vehicles have consistently demonstrated an outsized injury risk to pedestrians they strike, particularly those with tall, blunt front ends. However, the specific injuries suffered by pedestrians in these crashes as well as the mechanics of those injuries remain unclear. The current study was conducted to explore how a variety of vehicle measurements affect pedestrian injury outcomes using detailed injury attribution and crash kinematic data.
Method: We analyzed 121 pedestrian crashes together with a set of vehicle measurements for each crash: hood leading edge height, bumper lead angle, hood length, hood angle, and windshield angle.
Results: Consistent with past research, having a higher hood leading edge height increased pedestrian injury severity, especially among vehicles with blunt front ends. The poor crash outcomes associated front ends and a tendency for them to throw pedestrians forward after impact.
Conclusions: The combination of vehicle height and a steep bumper lead angle may explain the elevated pedestrian crash severity typically observed among large vehicles.