Pickup trucks and crossover SUVs dominate our roadways.
As pickup trucks and large SUVs grow in size, so does the risk to people around them, especially children.
The risk of these big vehicles comes in when drivers hit people directly in front of them due to dangerous blind spots just past the hood.
Consumer Reports demonstrated how big these blind zones can be and how people can help to protect their families.
Influenced by Consumer Reports' testing of rear visibility, backup cameras have been required on all new cars since 2018.
"Backup cameras have saved lives by giving us all that additional view when we are moving backward. Now we need to shift the focus to the safety in front of the vehicle," said Jennifer Stockburger with Consumer Reports.
The latest data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) shows that in 2020, there were over 500 deaths and more than 10,000 "frontover" injuries due to forward-moving vehicles.
A disproportionate number of frontover victims are children. According to Kids and Cars, about 81% of victims are 6 years old and under.
One reason for this is that as vehicles have grown in size, so have the blind spots around them.
Consumer Reports did a demonstration to show the severity of these blind spots.
"We are going to use Mr. Bear to simulate a small child. You let me know when you can see him from the driver's seat. Can you see him now," asked Stockburger during the test.
"No," said the demo driver.
"Anything now?" asked Stockburger.
"I can just see his ears," said the demo driver.
"What we're looking at here is about 15 feet ahead of that vehicle," said Stockburger.
"Wow, that's a big distance," noted the demo diver.
"And again, you are only seeing the top of his head," said Stockburger.
There is currently no law requiring vehicles to have front cameras or sensors.
"There's already so many of these large vehicles on the roads that awareness has to be part of it. If you are driving a large vehicle, maybe walk around the vehicle, or make sure all kids in the area are in your line of sight before that vehicle starts to move," said Stockburger.
A bill called the STOP Frontovers Act is in Congress and could require changes to certain vehicles to help prevent these types of crashes.