A car accident can occur at any time, but innovative safety features in newer model cars offer more protection to drivers and passengers and help minimize injuries when accidents occur.
A 2015 analysis by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) found that the chances of dying in a late model vehicle have fallen by a third in recent years based on improvements in automotive designs. Traffic safety researchers analyzed changes to vehicles from 1985 to 2012 and found that improvements in automotive structural designs, additional safety features and a changing mix of vehicle types were significant factors in the declining risk. In 2012 alone, an estimated 7,700 fewer drivers died as a result of design changes.
Are You Driving One of the Safest Model Cars?
The IIHS periodically publishes fatality rates for specific makes and models of vehicles, based on traffic statistics collected through the federal accident reporting system. It’s striking how the improvements in design and new safety features have reshaped the lists.
As recently as eight years ago, no vehicle model had a death rate of zero, in the Institute’s compilation of rankings. The most recent rankings included nine vehicles that had ZERO driver deaths during the years studied. More telling is that two thirds of those vehicles are sport utility vehicles. Here’s the Insurance Institute’s tool to search for driver death rates by model of vehicle.
Ten years ago, SUVs were among the most dangerous vehicles with the highest death rates due to their higher center of gravity and tendency to roll over. Rollover accidents can cause traumatic head injuries, spinal injuries and fatal injuries.
Automotive manufacturers’ incorporation of electronic stability control in their sport utility vehicles, however, has significantly reduced the risk of rollover accidents. Today’s SUV’s have the lowest driver death rate of any class of vehicles.
My Car Does What?
Electronic stability control is just one among a number of features that have been introduced.
Some of the other new safety technologies include:
- Back up cameras — When you shift your vehicle into reverse, a camera placed on the rear of the vehicle shows what is behind your vehicle. The image appears on your center console or in your rearview mirror. All new cars must have rear view cameras by 2018.
- Anti-lock braking systems—They rapidly apply and release brake pads to prevent your vehicle from skidding and allow the driver to steer to avoid a collision. The government required all new cars to have anti-lock braking systems by 2011.
- Forward collision warning—Sensors mounted on the front of the car scan the road and can alert you of a potential collision with a stopped or slow moving car in front of you.
- Blind sport monitoring systems—These sensors will warn you if it detects cars traveling on the left or right side of your vehicle. Some systems are not optimized to detect motorcycles or pedestrians, so it’s still important to turn your head and check your blind spots.
- Tire pressure monitoring systems—Driving on under inflated tires makes it more difficult to steer and can cause a blow out. This safety feature warns you if the tire pressure is low. The federal government began requiring all new cars to have tire pressure warnings in late 2007.
- Lane departure warning—This feature will correct lane drift and guide your vehicle back into your lane if you drive across the painted lane markings. The feature does not work if the road has no lane markings.
There are many additional safety technologies that have been introduced.
It’s important for drivers to educate themselves about the safety features of the vehicles they drive. A big problem is that many drivers do not take the time necessary to read the owner’s manual or familiarize themselves with the safety features of the car.
Check out the website MyCarDoesWhat.org, a website created by the National Safety Council to educate consumers about safety features in new cars. It’s also important for drivers to educate themselves about their legal options after an accident caused by another motorist.
If you have been injured in an accident caused by another driver in Lutz, Carrollwood, Odessa, Trinity, Wesley Chapel, New Port Richey, Holiday or Plant City, talk to a car accident lawyer who can help you obtain the compensation to help you recover and move forward. Speak with a personal injury lawyer at Holliday Karatinos Law Firm, PLLC about your legal options.