The annual Crash Course report from CCC Intelligence Solutions reveals troubling findings surrounding US roadways suffering a significant weight problem. As vehicles get heavier and increase in power, these transports are being driven by older motorists. Unlike the stereotypes of slow and less than steady operation of a car, they are now moving faster than ever and seriously distracted.
The consequences took the form of more frequent and severe automobile accident claims. From 2021 to 2022, claims increased by 3.7 percent. In the category of overall non-comprehensive claim counts, that number increased by 3.6 percent. In 2019, claims were 7.6 percent below 2022, with non-comprehensive claims remaining lower at 11.4 percent.
Consumers are more likely to select heavier vehicles, with more than 80 percent of new vehicle sales being light trucks in 2022, an increase of less than 50 percent in 2013. Trucks are driving farther post-pandemic lockdowns and represent a significant share of vehicles on the road. In addition, freight and commercial light trucks are also increasing, a trend likely to continue with the burgeoning e-commerce industry.
The vehicles they are buying are only getting heavier. The EPA reports that the average passenger vehicle will be 4,300 pounds in 2021, up from 3,200 pounds in 1981. SUVs added seven percent of weight from 1990 to 2021. Truck weights grew 32 percent during the same time.
While heavy vehicles cause wear and tear on the road, accidents are more severe, whether it involves property damage or injuries to drivers and passengers. Add to that the complexity of the technology in the current generation, and the dangers only increase.