Bigger Car, Bigger Fines Says German Court Over Red-Light-Running SUV

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The judge stated that SUVs pose a greater risk to pedestrians.

The SUV's rise to fame has been exponential, and today, these family-friendly land barges and their crossover siblings are America's favorite class of car, far outstripping sedans and hatchbacks, and even trumping trucks. This is all good and well except for one small issue: SUVs are killing American pedestrians at a greater rate than traditional cars. A recent increase in pedestrian deaths by 46% compared to 2009 could be linked to the rise in popularity of SUVs. With that information as the backdrop, a court in Germany has set a precedent that could shape how lawmakers judge SUV accidents across the globe by handing a heavier fine to an SUV driver who ran a red light than one of a regular car would receive for the same infraction.

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It is no secret that SUVs are not the most agile vehicles on the road, and according to a study conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) SUVs are more likely to cause serious harm during pedestrian-related incidents than their smaller counterparts. The study reveals that large SUVs such as the Cadillac Escalade or Chevrolet Suburban double the chance of pedestrian deaths in case of an accident.

A German court in Berlin clearly took this type of research into account when it ruled against a driver for running a red light. The court ordered the man to pay the equivalent of $365 dollars for the traffic infringement, up from the standard $200 fine, purely on the basis that he was driving an SUV.

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The court stated that the fact that the man was driving an SUV posed a larger risk to pedestrians, which, along with his previous convictions, raised the price of the fine. The court also imposed a month-long driving ban, but the driver will be able to appeal the judgment should he wish.

This ruling has set an interesting precedent that could see SUV drivers being unfairly discriminated against, but if more reports show that SUVs are in fact as dangerous as some say they are, the laws will naturally adjust, and SUV drivers will have to take on the risk of receiving larger fines.

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Source Credits: Washington Post

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