The SUV is rapidly becoming Australia’s favourite kind of car. In every state, SUV sales look set to outstrip sales of passenger vehicles soon, if they have not done so already.
The Toyota Hilux, Mistubishi Triton, Ford Ranger and Hyundai i35 are among the top selling SUVs.
SUVs are great. They’re safer for drivers, they give you a better view, they can mount any terrain, and they have lots of boot space. But they come with costs. More vulnerable road users get hurt. And we can see those costs across the whole country.
The results for non-drivers are substantially more mixed than the results for drivers, which show clear falls. Some of the states with the biggest proportional increase in SUVs (especially Tasmania) show the worst results for pedestrians and motorcylists..
For comparison, here’s the rate of change in driver deaths. It’s worth noting that Tasmania’s population has been pretty stable in this time while WA has grown.
These “hatchbacks on stilts” are a game theory problem. If everyone else has one, we want one too, to be able to feel safe and to see what’s happening on the road. They come with clear externalities. There is a case for the government to intervene.