By on July 24, 2007

hiace.jpgAutomotive safety has improved by leaps and bounds over the years. The Herald Sun reports on the not unexpected corollary: comparing like-to-like, new cars are vastly safer than their antecedents. According to a study of 2.8m real world crashes by Melbourne-based Monash University, larger locally-made cars (e.g. Fords and Holdens) are less safe than smaller European cars, which still "lead the way in safety features." The report lists five vehicles to "avoid in the used car lot:" Mitsubishi Cordia (1983 – 1987); Ford Falcon XE/XF (1982-1988); Mitsubishi Starwagon/L300 (1983-1986);Toyota Tarago (1983-1989); and the Toyota Hiace/Liteace (1982-1995). Interestingly, the official list also scores "How seriously your vehicle is likely to harm another road user."

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12 Comments on “Aussie Study Names and Shames “Death Traps”...”


  • avatar
    mikey

    Yeah automotive safety has increased maybe even peaked.
    At the same time driving skill has decreased.The modern car is much easier to drive and much more forgiving.Still IMO
    with all the safety features we got,it nothing will forgive driver error.

  • avatar
    NickR

    Automotive safety will continue to improve, I think. However, it won’t make as much difference as people hope. As mikey says, the skill of drivers is falling as the safety devices increase. I find it odd that, when my parents were newly married, the main road to our camping destination was a two lane, winding road on which it was permitted to drive 65 mph. They had overboosted steering, leaf spring suspension, and 4 wheel drums as did most cars and they made it there and back largely without incident. Now, with ESC, ABS, etc, etc, the limit is 40 mph even though there is actually less traffic as most people take the much newer highway.

  • avatar

    I am not convinced with this ongoing diatribe that driving skills have hit a new low. The speed limits are much higher now where I live than they were in 94 when the double nickle was in place and the population is also much higher. Now virtureally everyone drives much faster on more congested roads, so from my vantage point driving is more taxing on less skilled drivers these days. There have been idiot drivers since Henry Fords time

  • avatar
    omnivore

    I’m with Sherman Lin. Does anyone have any evidence, other than anecdotal, that driving skills are decreasing?

  • avatar
    cjdumm

    There may be a perception that driving skills have declined as a whole, but this is a proposition I won’t accept without much more evidence. If there seem to be more obvious anecdotal examples of idiotic driving, there are several reasons that suggest themselves. Our roads are much more crowded than they were 30 or 40 or 50 years ago. Add a plethora of in-car gadgetry and in-dash entertainment and you’ve got a recipe for sensory information overload. There is also the fact that airbags, ABS, traction control and advanced trauma care prevent a lot of bad drivers from dying. Many more more drunks, teenagers and doddering nonagenarians would become traffic fatalities without these technologies, but now they live to drive (badly) another day.

    And what do we mean by ‘driving skill’ anyway? When I was 19, it meant the ability to drift my Olds Cutlass around a washboard hairpin uphill right-hander on an unpaved mountain road at three times the advisory speed limit. Now ‘driving skill’ means knowing how (and when not to) drive in horrid weather, how to spot and avoid erratic/drunk drivers, and the art of finding a close-in parking spot at the local big-box retailer.

  • avatar
    carguy

    Maybe driving skills are not decreasing but a number of factors are making that appear like a decrease

    1. Cars have much more power – even V6 family cars can get an inexperienced driver into trouble.
    2. There are more cars on the road – more cars means more disciplined and attentive driving is required.

    Given that here in Florida anyone with a pulse can get a license its not wonder that this state has one of the highest per capita car accident rates. While safer cars mean that the fatality rate is going down the accident rate is not. Car makers have invested billions in making safer cars, I think its time we now invested in some driver education to improve the driver.

  • avatar
    carguy

    For those who want some relevant road fatality stats
    http://www.nytimes.com/2007/07/22/automobiles/22SAFETY.html?_r=1&adxnnl=1&oref=slogin&adxnnlx=1185300291-5lwx5yUu3+q4dm6/tItLZA

  • avatar
    mikey

    Interesting link Car Guy you just can’t teach experience I guess thats why the insurance people give us 50 plus guys a break.

  • avatar
    Redbarchetta

    Driving skills are being able to avoid an accident or turn a fatal accident into a survivable one. A large majority of drivers don’t have those skills because they were never taught them. Most drivers are a deer in headlights waiting for Death to scoop them out of their drivers seat.
    I’m talking about here in the US, I don’t know about other countries.

  • avatar
    NickR

    I’m with Sherman Lin. Does anyone have any evidence, other than anecdotal, that driving skills are decreasing?

    Toronto

  • avatar
    Humourless

    Oh god, Toronto.

    I will take my hat off and concur with that. As our population has become more, um, cosmopolitan, many of the newcomers have brought in driving traits more closely associated with third-world driving conditions. The rise of mobile media (cell phones, in-car iPods, etc.) only exacerbates poor driving habits.

  • avatar
    mikey

    OH yea ! Toronto I invite our American friends to run the the 401 Oakville to Oshawa.Say around mid day between rush hours. Call it semi pro racing with semi competant drivers.

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