Ryan Cooper likes pickup trucks. He drove an old F-150 as a youth in Colorado and a Toyota Hilux while in college. He just doesn't like modern pickups, and his column at the Week isn't one about personal taste. Cooper makes the case that today's pickups are way too big, for no good reason, and thus too risky for the road. "This behemoth design trend—particularly the very tall, square front end seen in so many SUVs and trucks today—is both pointless and dangerous," he writes. "Their bloated design is killing people, especially pedestrians." He runs through some stats to back up the latter assertion, including a 53% increase in pedestrian deaths from 2009 to 2018, when nearly 6,300 were counted. He places responsibility squarely on the makers of ever-larger pickups, which account for 70% of all new vehicles sold.
"They just design, build, and sell pointlessly huge SUVs and trucks they know for a fact are much more deadly for pedestrians, and resist proposals to incorporate pedestrians into their safety rating," he writes. "They make these energy-gobbling machines even more dangerous with intimidating design elements that harm their usefulness." Given all this, Cooper makes a damning comparison: "Automakers rate high profits and adolescent marketing campaigns above the lives of people walking the streets, just like cigarette companies did back in the day." Read his full column, in which he quotes a pickup designer talking about how front ends in particular are made to look as intimidating as possible. (Read more pickup trucks stories.)