More and more research shows that 4WDs are a safety hazard and a threat to drivers of other vehicles. A recent study conducted by Melbourne's Monash University has concluded that not only are 4WDs the most agressive vehicles on the road but they also cause the most fatal accidents (generally killing the occupants of the car they hit).
All but one of the large 4WD vehicles were rated in the worst possible aggressivity category. The latter result in particular shows large 4WD vehicles, whilst boasting generally good crashworthiness, put other road users at disproportionately high risk.
The average vehicle crash rating resulted in 3.9 deaths and serious injuries per 100 crashes to other road users, However when you compare this to 4WDs you get an enormous increase to 6.1 deaths and serious injuries per 100 crashes. All this talk of 4WDs causing harm and damage is worthless unless something is done to either limit 4WD access in urban areas or at least for the government to tax the vehicles just as much as normal vehicles.
Currently the Australia government has a lower tariff on 4WD vehicles, originally intended to support farmers and those in rural communities, however with the increasing number of 4WDs in urban areas, these tariffs no longer serve to support those in rural areas at all!
A further interesting finding of this study was the lack of safety that a small car had compared to larger vehicles,
"No light cars had crashworthiness better than average and of 37 light cars, more than half scored in the worst possible rating, buyers need to think carefully about a purchase in this class, especially young drivers who have a high crash risk and old drivers who are more susceptible to injury."