Safety and Design Improvements Help Reduce Fatality Rates For Cars in Crashes with SUVs
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) released the results of a recent study that showed that SUVs no longer posed more risk to people in a car or minivan than another car or minivan in two-vehicle crashes.
Automakers design changes and safety improvements played a large part in reducing the fatality rates. Our Binghamton, NY attorneys applaud the manufacturers for taking responsibility for the dangers these vehicles posed to other drivers and passengers.
In 2003, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) appealed to the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, the Association of Global Automakers and the IIHS to redesign SUVs and pickups to reduce the dangers by making the vehicles more compatible with the smaller vehicles on the road.
The automakers were able to quickly rebuild the trucks and SUVs so that the front structures were more aligned with the cars and minivans. This design change helped the energy-absorbing features of both vehicles protect occupants in the cars and minivans equally as well as the SUVs.
Car and minivan manufacturers did their part, too, and introduced side air bags and stronger structures to improve the chances for surviving an accident in those vehicles.
The study reviewed data based upon the numbers of vehicle accident fatalities per million registered vehicle years for 1- to 4-year-old vehicles. The study compared death rates from 2000 – 2001 to 2008 – 2009, for vehicles in the 3,000 – 3,499 pound weight range.
The IIHS found that in the 2000 – 2001 period, car or minivan fatalities from SUV crashes resulted in 44 deaths per million registered vehicle years. In the more recent period, the SUV fatality rate dropped to 16 per million.
During the 2008 – 2009 review, car fatality rates per million were actually higher than the SUV at 17 fatalities per million.
“By working together, the automakers got life-saving changes done quickly,” says Joe Nolan, the IIHS’s chief administrative officer and a co-author of the new study. “The new designs have made a big difference on the road.”
The study also concluded that pickups still fatally injured people in cars and minivans at a higher rate, particularly in frontal crashes. Improvements brought the rates down, but factors such as the size of the trucks and the added weight from loads still make them a danger to smaller vehicles.
Regardless of the improvements, smaller vehicles will still suffer more damage and increase the chances of serious injury or death in accidents. Our New York injury attorneys at Scott C. Gottlieb, Injury Law are encouraged by the collaborative efforts to make our highways safer.
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