By on December 11, 2015

2013 Lexus LS. Image: Lexus

Lowell writes:

Sajeev,

I thought you might know: What’s up with so many recent cars incorporating an oversized, black plastic, gaping maw in place of what’s been normal-sized grilles on cars? Lexus comes to mind first, with a visage that any Predator could love. But also, Hyundai Veloster, the revamped Yaris, various Audis, and so forth.

Is this related to some Euro pedestrian law, compliance with which mandates some high percentage of very breakable plastic up front? Darned hard to explain otherwise. At least for me. So I thought I’d ask.

Sajeev answers:

This question torments my inner car designer with every stroll down a dealer’s lot. Row upon row of gaping-maw-mobiles with frontal area worthy of a barn door. And because of Lexus, Audi, the Hyundai Veloster, etc. you mentioned working hard to bring macho excitement to so much undesirable real estate, trucks grow even larger to compensate.

Because frontal area (also known as reference area) is a critical variable in calculating aerodynamics, the gaping-maw-tobile kills efficiency in a place where maximization was commonplace through the use of bullet-shaped noses. How much fuel is wasted with cars possessing the fuel saving, grille shuttering, “aero tech” (pun intended) while lacking the sleek, small noses from the 1980s (below) and especially the 1990s (first photo)?

We could combine what we have now with our previous schnozes…but fuel is so cheap right now nobody cares anyway.

But I’m torn, because it’s a tragic, unintended consequence of Europe’s wholly-valid Pedestrian Safety legislation. Pedestrian lives matter to everyone and The Laws of Physics are absolute: I witnessed a kid in highschool crossing the street (without looking) and went over the painfully pointed face of a Chevy Beretta. This is actually a rare occurrence in my town, considering Houston’s sidewalk-averse urban sprawl.

Look, I grew up with the American aerodynamic renaissance of the mid-80s to mid-90s. I am still looking for the perfect Mercury Sable to complement TTAC’s Ford Sierra project car. But I understand why we, a global community of motorists, need boxy front fascias.

Even if they are a mixed bag o’ benefits. Style and fuel economy penalty aside, our own article by Mr. Schwoerer said it best:

I attended the CTI Car Training Institute’s 2007 Pedestrian Protection Forum at Sindelfingen. It was quite touching to see nerdy auto engineers stand up and say things like “we have the technology, so let’s get up off our backsides and do what we can to stop this killing of people.” U.S. officials were noticeably less keen.

In a phone interview, a NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) spokesman told me that America’s vehicle mix — more trucks and SUVs — isn’t as conducive to pedestrian-friendly technology as cars in the Eurozone. NHTSA research suggests that there are unexplored trade-offs involved. “You can make a car front better for children, but then it may get worse for adults.” Why not publish pedestrian-safety ratings and let the consumer decide? “Again, we don’t think you can find a one-size-fits-all solution”.

America can do more — but would Americans pay for the technology available on some Volvos and make it a federal mandate? And would Americans repair the tech if, heaven forbid, it threw a body computer warning code at the bottom of the vehicle’s depreciation curve?

I doubt we have such regard for pedestrians, at least when real money comes into play. Americans can’t even give a shit about the people that make our dirt-cheap clothes, we still — after decades of awareness — allow this to happen.

Welcome to the complex world of auto design: designers must protect the consumer from what they want. 

Thank you for reading, I hope you have a lovely week.

[Image: Lexus]

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65 Comments on “Vellum Venom Vignette: Protect Me From What I Want...”


  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    I’ve never seen a White Castle mustard and silver S-Class before.

  • avatar
    threeer

    Gads, I’d still take that S-Klasse design over just about anything on the road today…

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    Also, I forget how much I like the Sable.

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/Mercury-Sable-GS-/191755259246

    Even when it has an LTD hood ornament (WTF).

    • 0 avatar

      I’ve been tempted to buy that one, but nah, I will wait for the 86-88 model with the original fascias.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        Lol, should have known you’d have a save search for it already! I also keep my eye out for a black/black no-grille Q45 for you.

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        Really? The ’89-’91 light bar is far more light-bar-y, and the amber ’86-’88 cornering lights just look dumb. If I wanted a Sable I’d want the ’89-’91.

        But that one’s a GS. I’d hold out for a LS with the fun options like JBL sound and a heated windshield.

        • 0 avatar

          I’m usually a sucker for original designs, and I do like the more subtle light bar on the “original” Sable. And the laser-effect taillights are less showy with the extra black and smoked out reverse lights.

          Not to mention the 1990 dashboard redesign is all kinds of wrong.

          • 0 avatar

            My aunt owned an ’87 Sable which she bought used in 1988 and left to my daughter when she died in 2001. At the time of her death, the Sable had 29,000 miles on it and my daughter added another 40,000 to it before totaling it.

            I drove the car on many trips throughout it’s life and it was a very enjoyable car to drive. It handled pretty well for it’s day and was reasonably powerful. The Sable kinda got in it’s groove between 85MPH and 90MPH.

            I remember the first time I drove it on a really long trip. I hit I-44 at Joplin headed for The Lake Of The Ozarks near St. Louis which is a stretch of Interstate known for high-speed travel. After an hour or so ripping past traffic I caught a quick glimpse of myself in the mirror and I was grinning. The car was that much fun to drive.

            Several years ago I met my future wife and married into a 2001 Taurus. That was a decent enough car but not once did it ever make me grin and I was happy to unload it a year later. I don’t know where Ford went wrong with the design and implementation but you’d have never known those two cars shared any heritage whatsoever.

          • 0 avatar
            JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

            @whiskey

            The same things that tend to happen to all cars: more weight, more girth, more this and more that. For 2000 (4th gen), the springs were softened to produce a nicer ride, as Ford seemed more focused on pulling old ladys out of Buicks than 30-somethings out of Camrys. The fouth gen isnt a terrible car, but I choose my an earlier gen hands down.

            Thats why I love the second generation so much. A little heavier and larger than the first but not by much, still very enjoyable car to drive. The styling is handsome and stream-lined, and the car is good on fuel, easy/cheap to repair, and drives so nicely.

            Ive had many 1st gens and they were great cars, but for me, the car was best in the 2nd gen form with 3.0L power. Most 88-95 Sables got 3.8L engines, they are to be avoided at all costs. Best to get a manual SHO or a 3.0L Taurus/Sable if an automatic or price limit is advised.

          • 0 avatar
            JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

            Add about Taurus/Sable.

            Its only fair to mention transaxle issues. It is important to change the fluid/filter/pan gasket at around 30k intervals. If you buy a used one that seems to shift fine, check the pan to see if its really clean compared to the rest of the underside as this will indicate a recent service performed in the correct mannor by removing the pan and replacing the filter as most clean the pan as well.

            On my 95, it was indeed clean compared to the rest of the under side. Its fluid was pink and full. All a good sign. It also shifts well all the time. I noted in my user name that mine has the AX4N. Im happy because as I said, I love the 3.0 and the 2nd generation and AX4Ns were on very very few 1994-1995 Taurus Sable 3.0s (but was standard with the far more powerful 3.2L DOHC SHO). This combination is great because the 3.0L is the least stressful on the transaxle (another reason to avoid the 3.8L!) and the AX4N is the best version of the AXOD family and later became standard in all cars in mid 2000s, by then unfortunantly saddled with a weak torque converter that strips on 04-07 cars.

            Ive had plenty of older versions of the AXOD, from 1986-1993 in many cars, plus the family 1997 Sable GS and neighnor’s 1997 Taurus GL. They are not terrible but theyre not smooth either. I find Honda 4 speed autos in the many Accords Ive owned and driven just as clumsy, jerky, uncooperative and frustrating as and Taurus/Sable. My 1995 Taurus has many original parts that had already been replaced on my 1995 Accord sold with 191K miles, and the Taurus has 199,800 tonight. The Taurus isnt perfect, but its no worse than the Accord for reliability. The Accord had clearly lived a privlidged life over the Taurus. Not to mention, 200K soon and not a single timing belt to change lol. As far as compared to the Accord LX (roughly equivilent to a well equipped Taurus GL, with the Taurus throwing in a V-6 and power seats, more interior lights). The Taurus rides better, the smaller Accord handled more sharply. The Taurus V-6 bests the Accord’s non-VTEC I-4 in low end torque and overall usable power by a country mile, with a penalty in fuel mileage for which Ill gladly pay in order to be able to pass a semi going up hill with three people on board. The Accord was gutless in hills and mountains, as well as up hill freeway entrances. Short entrances like in Texas were “go-and-pray” in the Accord, the Taurus torque gets it up to a decent speed rather quickly for a base model midsize 1990s car. Its not “fast” but I wouldnt call it slow. The Accord was slow.

            The 2.2L droaned loudly at 65-70+ while the 3.0L is a barely audible deep rumble in the bacground until you have to get out from behind the Nissan Frontier with a canopy on it doing 45 to merge with people doing 75. Im not the only one who finds the Vulcan’s noise plesant. In a similar situation, I jad my friends daughter ask what kind of engine it had. I said a V-6 amd she said with colorful language I wont repeat that it sounded great. Keep in mind, Ive removed the intake silencer on my car so its a little louder. Lol still funny though. You guys know my head swelled with pride. :)

            Anyway, the Taurus wont even downshift on hills the Accord did everytime on the same route down here in the dirty south, cruise set on 70. I did like my Accord, especially if it were a coupe and a manual (not to mention EX WVTEC), but as it was, Ill keep the Taurus.

  • avatar
    olddavid

    I am learning – slowly – that the disease I suffer from seems ubiquitous. But I want a Sable wagon with SHO internals. My driveway would be the envy of all the inbred hipsters that have recently invaded with that and my Lincoln.

  • avatar
    andyinatl

    The safety aspect of the new taller/larger front ends is what i fail to grasp…. So it’s worse for a pedestrian to get kicked and rolled over the car in case of an unfortunate impact, then being punted 50 feet by the current “safe” tall front ends? I would think the larger the area with which a human body is being hit, the worse the impact will be. I’m sure i’m missing something here, but not sure what…

    • 0 avatar
      callmeishmael

      Are so many pedestrians being struck that it’s now necessary for every new car in the world to look like it’s screaming? And did the regulations state that designers had to find the ugliest possible way to meet their criteria?

      This is a look that I will skip.

      • 0 avatar
        Ryoku75

        Well people are only becoming more dense, and less aware of their surroundings.

        VW, despite their cheaty dirty emission ways, will still sell you cars that meet current safety criteria without goofy angry/happy mouths.

    • 0 avatar
      PeriSoft

      “I would think the larger the area with which a human body is being hit, the worse the impact will be. I’m sure i’m missing something here”

      Would your rather fall ten feet onto a flat rubber tile floor, or ten feet onto a pointy piece of steel?

      The more area there is to spread the force out, and the more flexible that area is, the less likely you are to be injured.

    • 0 avatar
      bumpy ii

      The problem with low front ends is they catch people below the waist and shatter their legs and knees, while the upper body falls back on the hood and the head deforms the sheet metal enough to contact the engine block. A higher front end is better at “bouncing” pedestrians forward and away from the hard parts of the vehicle.

      • 0 avatar

        Nailed it.

      • 0 avatar
        Kyree S. Williams

        This is true. Newer cars also have lots of dead space between the hood and engine block so that if someone does land on the hood, he/she has more margin before impacting the engine block or other hard metal parts in the engine bay. This is not true of older cars with wedge-shaped front ends, like 90s Hondas, whose engine blocks are basically just below the hood.

      • 0 avatar
        Lorenzo

        When I was four, I was run over by a sailor in a ’48 Chevy. I was knocked down and the car passed over me. I was under the middle of the car and saw the left rear wheel coming, so I just rolled between the front and rear wheels into the safety of the center stripe, while the car was still moving (my guardian angel got all kinds of awards for that one).

        So the solution is obvious: more road clearance! I’d say 18 inches of road clearance is the one size that fits most. Then designers can go back to the 1950s standard of designing happy faces!

    • 0 avatar
      dwford

      Perhaps in the future the regulators will specify quick deploying nets to catch the pedestrian in mid air.

  • avatar

    How much is due to companies wanting to promote brand identity ? Like the “eye-liner” DRLs, it started with the Germans and now every manufacturer think they have to have an over-sized signature grille (and eye-liner DRLs) to keep up with the Jones’s or nobody is going to know who made the vehicle.

    I saw on of the new alphabet-soup Lexus SUVs with the huge Predator grille the other day and almost puked … it is SO ugly from every direction.

  • avatar
    NoGoYo

    Boy do I miss wedges…

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Were reaching an automotive design era where the silhouettes will start to resemble the late 30s early 40s sedans. I’ve sometimes thought my 2010 Highlander would look like a modernized 1940 Oldsmobile Series 60 sedan if I slapped some wide-whitewalls on it.

  • avatar
    ahnuconun

    When I see the picture of the Volvo with the pedestrian airbags, all I can picture is this: Some asshat hipster crossing the street with headphones on and texting on his iPhone 6 Plus as his skinny-baggy pants fall down around his ankles at the precise moment that he wanders into the path of a car. I picture the full beard doing nothing to soften the impact as his face smashes his horn-rimmed glasses against the engine block and his earlobe stretchers pop out.

    Here’s an idea: Instead of me paying more and more for new cars that keep getting heavier and more neutered because of safety equipment, you just use the most basic skill you should have learned as a kid: sense of self-preservation. Oh wait… Your mom raised you in bubble wrap while giving you everything you wanted to shut you up? Right, right… How about this, you just wear one of those inflatable sumo wrestler suits all the time. That’s “sick”, isn’t it?

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      The system should have some kind of logic built into it to not deploy if it detects a hipster.

    • 0 avatar
      dwford

      The assumption today seems to be that a person’s personal safety is someone else’s responsibility. Everywhere I go I see pedestrians walking on the street (right next to a perfectly good sidewalk) with the flow of traffic wearing headphones. So they will never see or hear the car coming when it hits them from behind.

      • 0 avatar
        Ryoku75

        I usually see them walk across 4-lasne streets, slowly leisurely and without even looking, under the impression that other drivers wont be distracted/speeding/infuriated/etc.

        I make a point to wail on the horn only when I’m right next to them, they need to wake up. Not everyone is going to swerve around them.

    • 0 avatar
      SaulTigh

      You paint suck a lovely picture. Asshats sometimes get what they deserve. Tee hee.

  • avatar
    thelaine

    The lack of visibility/tiny “greenhouse” is what I hate in so many newer cars.

    Another good reason to just buy a pickup. It does everything I need to do and I can even see out of it.

  • avatar
    Quentin

    A blunt front is not necessarily a negative for aerodynamics. The frontal area that Sajeev mentions is the frontal area of the whole car, not the frontal area of the nose. Most of the grille openings are sized appropriately for the low speed cooling and have filler to allow the grille size to be whatever the designer wants but still work for aerodynamics.

    • 0 avatar

      Considering the size of today’s side view mirrors, tire widths, etc. I would love to find a case of a modern car’s frontal area being less than its counterpart from 10+ years ago.

      • 0 avatar
        Quentin

        It is a moot point. People want taller, wider cars. That means more frontal area. Grille size doesn’t impact this. Ford and GM are increasing their frontal area via front air dams because the Cd improvement has more impact than the negative impact of the frontal area.

        Mirrors and tires are largely the same. Automakers have figured out how to shape the mirrors and the fenders to allow air to flow more efficiently. Low rolling resistance tires give up little in rolling resistance drag (and practically nothing in aero drag) but improve the looks and the way the vehicles track on the road. It is a worthwhile trade-off for most buyers based on the fact that only extreme efficiency vehicles (Prius, i3) come with skinny tires.

    • 0 avatar
      Felis Concolor

      “A blunt front is not necessarily a negative for aerodynamics.”

      From my model rocketry days, the blunt ogive nose cone provided superior aerodynamics at subsonic speeds over any sort of needle or spear tip. Simple wind tunnel experiments demonstrated the greatest advantage came from rounding off a squared cylinder’s edges, even if the center wasn’t as pointed as a proper nose cone. Further refinement of the smoothed cylinder to the ogive did not provide as dramatic a reduction in drag compared to the initial smoothing.

      The aerodynamic lessons for guidance fins was counter intuitive; it was better to leave the balsa wood fins straight and squared-off than it was to round off all edges, the latter of which created greater boundary layer separation and increased drag behind the rocket. The best practice was to create a “sharp” profile when sanding down fin edges, which led to optimal performance and maximum altitude.

      • 0 avatar
        jhefner

        See my reply below; the nose cap of today’s cars approach half a missile nose cone in shape, with the front corners pulled back to the front wheel wells and the corners of the head lights pulled both back and inwards.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Sajeev may or may not have been aware of the Placebo song of the same title (well, technically “Protège-Moi”).

    youtube.com/watch?v=qS9v2ma6BJw

  • avatar
    nickoo

    Yup. My tbird was outstanding. One of the best. I miss it. One thing sneaky auto manufacturers do is report drag coeffiecient and not actual drag numerical value. Getting a standard numerical drag value at 75 mph on all cars would be extremely useful and honest, something auto manufacturers shy away from.

    • 0 avatar
      nickoo

      Drag calculation includes a few terms, not all listed here, important ones for discussion are frontal 2d area and drag coefficient. Cd isnt always constant either due to changing flow regimes, need to know reynolds number at a given velocity. Its all pretty neat stuff. A new ford f150 could have a .3 cd in theory and a fa of 40 square feet. While a camaro could have a cd of .4 and a cd of 30 square feet….do the math. You can see why just reporting cd is largely misleading.

  • avatar
    King of Eldorado

    I understand that the more upright front ends are pursuant to recent pedestrian safety regulations, but surely there are ways to do this other than having the gaping-maw mostly fake grilles of which Lowell complains. I assume such clean designs as the current VW Golf meet the safety regs while still having a fairly small and normal looking grille.

  • avatar
    jhefner

    When comparing the frontal area of today’s cars with those of the ’80s and early ’90s; one subtle but notable thing to consider is the shape of the nose cap, and the actual area and shape of the blunt nose.

    Early aerodynamic cars had a wedge shape with a flat, sloped back nose cap. It was thought that the top of the car offered less drag than the sides; so the wedge shape directed air over the top of the car, and little down the sides. Looked at from above; an aero car of this era was basically square in plan.

    Nowadays, the shape of the nose is more of a quarter sphere, with only the grill itself being flat. The headlights slope both back and inwards toward the hood in the upper rear corners, one reason why they are all teardrop shaped (they fit in a triangle bordered the grill, the hood, and the front wheel opening.) So when discussing frontal area; you are mostly looking at just the grill and bumper. Looked at from above, the nose is rounded instead of square in plan.

    The Mercedes and Chevy Beretta pictures illustrate what I mean about early aero cars, they have mostly flat front ends that are sloped back. The Volvo illustration shows how a modern car has a flat grill, but the outer edges of the headlights and bumper are pulled back, resulting in a flat grill with the rest of the front sloped away in a semi-circle like shape. The Lincoln at the top illustrates the middle ground that was the late 90s early 00s; when the nose was flat and sloped back, but also rounded when viewed from above in plan view, rather than mostly square. Pull those outer corners of the headlights upwards so it is level with the top of the headlights, pull the seam between the headlights and side lights inwards, and pull the front corners of the hood inwards to match as well so that the side lights and the body beneath it form a corner from the grill to the wheel well, and you approach the shape of nose of today’s cars.

    It directs more air down the sides rather than over the top; but allows today’s taller SUVs to have a Cd that approaches and exceeds what longer sedans like the Sable and Sierra would have in the past. They also moved the side mirrors out away from the body and moved the mounting sail down below the cowl level to reduce both wind noise and drag, and tweaked the vertical edge behind the rear wheels in the same way they would tweak the shape of the trunk edge to reduce drag at the rear. (Hence the shape of that edge on the Prius and other cars.)

    • 0 avatar
      jhefner

      End result — my wife’s 2016 Nissan Rogue has a Cd of 0.33; almost comparable to my 1995 Taurus wagon. It is taller by 5 inches, but narrower by 4 inches (so frontal area is close to the same) and more space efficient in the seating area than my wagon (because the seating is more upright; resulting in more room in the same 106 inch wheelbase.) Add a CVT and today’s engine technology, and it can return a fuel economy that is much higher than the Taurus ever could, along with being safer both outside and inside. And I am in awe of low little wind noise there is even at 90 MPH or in a crosswind; look at the swirls left in the dust on the body after driving in the rain reveals only a little around the top of the “A” pillars and rear corners of the headlights.

      I don’t like how the Rogue looks compared to my Taurus wagon; but you can’t argue with how well it performs in comparison.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        ROGUE! Not Rouge.

        I’ve seen this misspelled today like three times across different articles. Rogue is like Arizona politics, and rouge is French for “red.”

      • 0 avatar
        nickoo

        You’re right and wrong. Cd and FA are two different and important terms for calculating actual drag force. Drag force is a function of density * Cd * FA * V^2 (not exact formula, just the terms in the function you also have skin friction, aka shear stress drag, we’re ignoring that since it’s something else entirely)

        Therefore, this is the reason why trucks fail no matter what, the 2d frontal area, looked directly on from the front, including everything, mirrors, cab, grill, anything hanging down, all counts, they have a huge FA compared to a car, no matter what the Cd is. Anything that the free stream contacts is considered frontal area.

        Also, rear separation is super important, thats why need to taper down in a boat-tail for clean separation and lessening of apparent mass, that’s why hybrids have a truncated boat tail.

        Example of why trucks/crossovers always suck. Silveram 150 truck has Cd .3 while FA can be 40 and hence that comes out to 12, where-as a 57 chevo-bu-mo-ford (made up) has something like a .6 Cd with a FA of 20 means still comes out as 12. Where-as hybridoprius has Cd of .3 and FA of 20 comes out as 6, so you cut actual drag force in half because less FA.

        • 0 avatar
          jhefner

          I am fully aware of that; the best example are the Zepplins; they had fantastic Cd, but way too much FA; so they were slow.

          What you did not pick up on in my comparison is that the Rogue is six inches taller, but is also four inches more narrow. So, the FA is roughly the same for both, along with the Cd. Most cars nowadays are not designed to see six across; and are instead designed for the streets of Europe.

          Trucks have roughly the same FA has they always have had, and while SUVs are replacing sedans; as my above comparison shows, they do not necessarily have a greater FA because most of them are more narrow than in the past.

      • 0 avatar
        nickoo

        The reason the prius is shaped the way it is is to have a smooth air separation off the back and for the air to detach off the back of the prius rather than swirl around and get pulled along (known as apparent mass in fluid dynamics). The rear tapers in all around, not just the roof as it approaches the rear end. In a perfect world the prius would taper to a point, but for practical reasons they have to truncate it.

    • 0 avatar
      nickoo

      The further the mirrors are out creates more FA and more drag too because they are further outside the boundary layer flow and into the free stream. Mirrors like on the 1989 camaro are best for drag reduction. The reason they moved them further out was for better visibility.

      • 0 avatar
        jhefner

        As the driver of a 1995 Taurus, I can tell you that you are wrong; it has mirrors just like the Lincoln in the top picture. The mirrors are in the direct flow of the air coming off the cowl area and create alternating vortices off the top and bottom of the mirror. You can clearly tell by the amount of wind noise as they drum on the windows, and by the pattern the water droplets make on the glass.

        Moving them out gets them out of the boundary layer, cutting down on both drag AND wind noise. The difference in wind noise between the Taurus and Rogue is glaringly obvious. The engineers working on the 1996 Taurus realized that the mirrors generated more wind noise than anything else, and wanted to mount them on stalks on the door panel, like the 2015 Mustang. But, the stylists overrode them, and they were mounted on the sail panel instead. But most mirrors today are mounted on stalks below the cowl area for that very reason. They are fully aware of FA and Cd; and know exactly what they are doing.

  • avatar
    Ryoku75

    Most “gaping maws” back into a black wall, or “shutters”, they give the illusion of a grille, its cheap looking but its what car stylists want along with tiny windows.

  • avatar
    jacob_coulter

    The idea of designing every car’s shape around the possibility of a pedestrian collision seems absurd.

    Should they also all have extra low grills that nearly scrape the ground so a person can’t get under the tires when they get hit?

  • avatar
    SP

    I think the annoyance with this trend has to do with the relatively small number of pedestrian deaths (less than 5,000 per year in the USA) and the uncertainty of how effective these new measures are, combined with the certainty that cars are getting uglier and every last one of us has to see them.

    Also, according to the statistics, about a third of the killed pedestrians 16 years or older are legally drunk at the time. Yet MADW (Mothers Against Drunk Walking) does not, as far as I know, exist.

    Distracted walking is another major issue, though I don’t think there are ways to reliably track it.

    How many fatalities will really be prevented by the new high-prow car designs? I guess we will have to wait and see.

    Since 70% of these fatalities happen at night, it seems to me that driver alert technologies would probably give a better result, though they bring their own costs and complexities.

    • 0 avatar
      Drzhivago138

      >”combined with the certainty that cars are getting uglier…”

      Never combine an objective term like “certainty” with a subjective term like “ugly.”

    • 0 avatar
      VolandoBajo

      Just found this article. Yes dumb pedestrian moves are the proximate cause.

      The ugly Euro front ends are the result of a lack of interest in clean styling, (“we are engineers, not artists!”), and the pedestrian-catcher regs give them an excuse for having boxy looks. Not universally true, but there are examples if you look for them.

      I once worked with a couple of brothers who lived in Brooklyn…life-long New Yorkers and presumptively conditioned to pay attention to their surroundings. Yet one of them, in his early twenties, started across Coney Island Ave. towards a subway station, and walked out from between two parked cars in the middle of a block, smack dab in front of a passing car…net result, a near fatality, and a long hospital stay followed by a lengthy recuperation period.

      What about peripheral vision, you ask? Seems it had been snowing, and he was wearing his snorkel jacket with a snorkel that extended a foot or more past the end of his nose. Never bothered to turn his head to either side…his own words. Just stepped out, figuring traffic would, and would have to, stop for a pedestrian.

      His education may not have ended that day, but it surely continued that morning.

      Fortunately he eventually recovered completely…several months later.

  • avatar
    its me Dave

    I could live with the gaping maws, but why do all the designers have to style them after trout, carp or eel mouths?

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