Jan 30, 2023 - News

Nearly half of Tampa Bay's most-registered vehicles are pickup trucks

Data: S&P Global Mobility; Chart: Axios Visuals
Data: S&P Global Mobility; Chart: Axios Visuals

Four of the 10 most-registered vehicles in Tampa Bay are pickup trucks β€” vehicles that have been supersized and redesigned for comfort in recent decades, a far cry from the utilitarian and economical machines of previous years.

Driving the news: In the 1980s, about half of pickup trucks were categorized as small or midsize. But by the 2010s, small pickups had nearly vanished.

Why it matters: As trucks transitioned from farm and ranch workhorses to lifestyle vehicles, their design shifted accordingly: Cabs expanded to accommodate more passengers, while beds shrank.

  • Yet, pedestrian and road safety advocates say today's massive trucks are a hazard, given their size, weight, and driver blind spots.

One result of supersized trucks: greater risks to pedestrians and other drivers.

  • Drivers of today's trucks sit much higher, creating a blind spot where small children or wheelchair users are hidden from view.
  • Moreover, pickups' weight increased by 32% between 1990 and 2021, meaning they strike pedestrians with more force.
  • Plus, the tall front of a truck strikes pedestrians in the torso or head β€” increasing risk of critical injuries β€” whereas the lower hoods of cars typically strike pedestrians in the legs.

Zoom in: According to data from S&P Global Mobility, Tampa Bay's bestseller is Ford's F Series, a prime example of how trucks have grown.

  • The first F-150s were 36% cab and 64% bed by length.
  • By 2021, the ratio flipped, with 63% cab and 37% bed, as trucks were being used more for carrying people than lumber, rubble or bags of concrete.

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