Trucks & SUVs

Bring Back the Cabover Pickup Truck … to Save the Children?

Considering the reputation they have for getting poor fuel economy, it makes sense that pickup truck owners have to worry about new laws and taxes eventually making them impossible to own. Forget gas prices. If states started taxing drivers based on road wear, your super-heavy truck just got much, much more expensive to keep on the road.

And those are just some of the more obvious threats to the pickup truck. A lot of people don’t realize trucks are also getting a lot more attention from The Week and other pedestrian safety advocates. Human bodies don’t do well when they get hit by trucks, you know? But one way to make trucks less murdery to pedestrians might be to just give up on the conventional layout. Instead, we say let’s get weird and a little retro.

What is a cabover pickup truck?

If you’re not familiar with the idea of a cabover, the name basically explains all you need to know. The cab (passenger area) sits over the front axle. The result is a truck with a much flatter front end.

At the other end, a cabover design means shorter trucks can have longer beds. That’s especially convenient anywhere parking is tight, or the government restricts how long trucks can be. And even though they’re much more common in Europe, in the past, cabovers were sold in the U.S., as well.

The cabover design is also safer

If you just focus on pedestrian safety, cabover trucks offer two significant advantages. The first is improved visibility for the driver. And when drivers can see what’s in front of and around them, it’s easier for them to avoid hitting pedestrians.

The second is the location of the engine. Body panels are hard, but an engine is way harder. And since the engine sits way back from the bumper, that reduces the severity of any injuries. Not that any injury is a good thing.

But also, they look awesome

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We don’t want this to detract from the cabover’s potential to reduce pedestrian deaths in the U.S., but we also love the way those weird old trucks look. A 2025 cabover Chevrolet Silverado? That would look so cool.

But also, can you really blame us for wishing automakers would start building really cool new trucks? Especially if they’re more practical while also being safer for pedestrians? Of course not.

Other pedestrian safety improvement

In addition to a cabover Ford F-150 and a production version of that sweet Jeep FC concept, we’d also love to see more manufacturers make automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection standard. It would also make sense for the federal government to mandate pedestrian detection systems on all new vehicles with hoods above a certain height. And yes, those systems do pretty much exactly what the name says. They try to stop the car if the driver doesn’t brake in time.

We’d also love to see more public safety announcements that draw attention to how dangerous it can be to walk or ride your bike in a city. Not to discourage walking, either. To make drivers more aware of how much more careful they should be to not kill pedestrians.