Nearly half of Tampa Bay's most-registered vehicles are pickup trucks
Four of the 10 most-registered vehicles in Tampa Bay are pickup trucks — 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.
- In a new special project, Axios' Will Chase, Jared Whalen and Joann Muller examined the past 50 years of societal and lifestyle changes behind pickups' ever-increasing size.
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 — increasing risk of critical injuries — 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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