Deaths Decrease in Trucks and SUVS crashes
Are people driving smarter or are SUVs safer?
Web2Carz Contributing Writer
Published: September 29th, 2011
Today, passenger fatalities resulting from smaller cars involved in collisions with larger pickups and SUVs occurs 64 percent less than in the years 2000-01, an insurance industry study claims.
|People have long opted for SUVs and Pickups because they are touted as safer than smaller vehicles. Yet, for occupants in smaller cars who are involved in crashes with these larger vehicles, risk of fatality is much greater--although it is declining.
Overall death rates from passengers in smaller cars and minivans involved in crashes with larger vehicles has fallen from 44 deaths per million accidents in 2000-2001, to 16 deaths per million in 2008-2009, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety said in a study released today.
Citing changes in vehicle design--primarily for pickups and SUVs, the Institute of Highway Safety says larger vehicles are better designed to be more safe when involved in accidents with smaller cars and minivans.
|It was 8 years ago, in 2003, when the National Traffic Highway Safety Administration urged more car manufacturers to drastically improve pickups and SUVs so that crashes would be more survivable for passengers in small cars and minivans.
To increase crash survivability in such instances, the NHTSA has mandated increased safety standards, requiring electronic stability control and stronger small-car vehicle structures to prevent skid-outs and rollovers.
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Some credit can be given to improved safety design in smaller cars, but the IIHS largely points to better design in larger vehicles for the decline in occupant deaths.
In earlier years, hard-steel frame and bumper rails on pickups and SUVs were higher off the ground, and would make direct impact with the thinner metal sheets on car doors, thus increasing the risk of a fatal accident.
In 2003, following more stringent standards by the NHTSA, Ford, Volkswagen and Honda had meetings and worked together to design both their large and small body cars and trucks to be more safe during collisions--for all occupants of all types of vehicles.
"Thanks to a voluntary, collaborative effort by automakers and NHTSA to match the front-end bumper heights of light trucks with those of smaller passenger vehicles -- as well as new NHTSA standards requiring electronic stability control and stronger vehicle structures -- we're not only preventing crashes, we're making those that do happen significantly more survivable," said David Strickland, administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in a statement released today.
Although the number of deaths of passengers of small cars involved in accidents with larger vehicles has declined, one is still more likely to die in such an accident than any other, and automakers and safety officials will continue to improve design to improve safety and survivability.