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The Safest Car on the Road

6/25/2013

If you are like most people, you consider safety ratings important when shopping for a new car. You assume that safety ratings reflect how well the vehicle will protect you and your family in a Philadelphia car crash. However, a new study suggests that those who are concerned with safety may be best off driving a sports utility vehicle (SUV).

Historically, SUVs have gotten a bad rap. During the 1980s and 1990s, SUVs were considered dangerous because of roll-over problems. These issues have been addressed, and SUVs now have fewer rollovers than other vehicles.

Researchers at the University of Buffalo used the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) database to study fatal, head-on collisions involving passenger cars and SUVs that occurred between 2005 and 2010. The study included 83,521 vehicles involved in head-on crashes.

They found that when a passenger car hits an SUV, the occupants of the car are seven times more likely to die than the occupants of the SUV. The odds are worse if the SUV has a better crash rating than the car; in that case, the occupants of the car are ten times more likely to die. If the car has the better crash rating, the occupants are four times more likely to die than the occupants of the SUV. This was true even when the SUV and car had similar weights.

The reason is the height. In frontal crashes, an SUV rides over the shorter passenger vehicle. The difference in heights can crush the occupants of the car.

Do safety ratings matter when the vehicles are the same size? In that case, safety ratings do matter. According to the study, a lower car safety rating was associated with a 1.28 times higher risk of death for the driver. For each point difference in crash rating, the driver was 1.22 times more likely to die.

The study was presented May 16 at the annual meeting of the Society of Academic Emergency Medicine.

A safe car and good driving habits cannot guarantee that you won’t be injured in a Pennsylvania car wreck. If you or a loved one has suffered serious injury, our Philadelphia accident attorneys can help. For a free consultation, contact Mednick, Mezyk, and Kredo at 888-807-WORK

Category: Motor Vehicle Accidents

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