When we look for a new car or truck, often one of the first things that we consider is the vehicle’s safety record. Many manufacturers and consumer groups extensively test vehicles to determine how they would respond in a motor vehicle accident.
While vehicles must adhere to certain safety requirements, different types of vehicles will have different restrictions that they must meet. These variations can greatly impact the injuries that may result in an accident, especially if the collision involves a vehicle that is larger than a passenger car.
Recently, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) released a report that examined different types of vehicles. The agency determined that fatalities from accidents dropped eight percent from 2002 to 2010. Officials credit much of this decrease due to a 17 percent drop in deaths from collisions between cars and sport utility vehicles.
When car and SUV accidents were at their highest numbers, automakers agreed to address the height disparity between the vehicles. When SUVs were higher than passenger cars, this led to more serious injuries. When the vehicles were more evenly matched, the vehicles themselves absorbed more of the impact of the collisions, resulting in less injuries and deaths.
However, despite the decrease in deaths, there was one area of concern to the agency. Deaths that resulted from collisions between cars and pickup trucks actually increased five percent over the same time period.
The NHTSA will review crashes between pickups and cars to determine where the force of the pickups hits cars. By studying the point and amount of impact, officials can learn if the size and height of the pickups needs to be further regulated.
Source: USA Today “Cars and SUVs less mismatched in crashes; pickups lag” Jayne O’Donnell, June 18, 2012.