by Tim O’Hare
While car accidents are most often the result of driver error, reckless or impaired driving or bad weather, the type of vehicle involved often determines fatalities in car accidents. Size and stability of a vehicle matter, and in some cases, could make the difference between life and death.
Surprisingly, due to advancing technology, the safest vehicles on the road today — SUVs — were considered the most dangerous a few years ago. Sport utility vehicles, despite their size, have long been considered dangerous because they could easily roll over in an accident. Electronic stability control, which will be required in all passenger vehicles by 2012, detects loss of steering control, and applies the brakes to individual wheels to help steer the vehicle and avoid skidding or loss of control.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s Status Report published June 9 shows risk of death in a car accident increases as the size of the vehicle decreases. The report lists the top 10 most dangerous types of cars. These vehicles are measured in deaths per million registered vehicles (a vehicle registered for a year). Mini sports cars top the list, with 83 deaths per million registered vehicles. All vehicles in the top 10 list are small or midsized vehicles.
Small, two-wheel drive SUVs were found to be the most dangerous SUVs, but didn’t break into the top 10 most dangerous vehicles, with just 41 deaths per million registered vehicles. Large four-wheel drive SUVs were found to be the safest on the road, with just 15 deaths per million registered vehicles. This change is credited to the improved technology and electronic stability control now available in new SUVs.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety named the top 66 safest vehicles on the market. Hyundai/Kia and Volkswagen/Audi each have nine models in the 2011 safest vehicles list. Ford/Lincoln and Toyota/Lexus/Scion each have 8 models on the list. The tests to determine vehicle safety have been made more stringent, as regulations add roof strength to the tests a vehicle must endure.
Find the full list of safest cars here.
When shopping for a vehicle, one thing to remember is that a smaller car, while it may have certain safety features, cannot escape the laws of physics when involved in an accident with a vehicle twice it’s size, like an SUV. Is owning that little sports car, or saving money on a new car by purchasing a smaller vehicle really worth your safety and possibly your life?
If you have been seriously injured or lost a family member in a car accident, contact The Law Offices of Tim O’Hare to speak with a Dallas personal injury attorney. CAll us at 972-960-0000 or toll-free at 1-888-960-0020.