By on May 11, 2018

You might want to sit down for this one. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) released a study this week showing older cars without modern day safety hardware are — and I’m sorry to say this — far more dangerous than newer vehicles. Unbelievable, right?

Of course not. As tacked on and obnoxious as a lot of safety regulations often seem, they are delivering onto us safer automobiles. The old maxim of “they don’t build cars like they used to” is absolutely true, but not in the way your grandfather meant it. According to data compiled from the U.S. government’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) between 2012 and 2016, fatal incidents occurred in older model-year vehicles at a much higher rate than their newer counterparts. Not surprisingly, the NHSTA also suggested the severity of an occupant’s injuries increase the older a vehicle gets.

Still, the disparity between the vehicle age groups is surprisingly vast.

Incidents that resulted in death saw 26 percent of occupants riding in 2013-17 model-year autos perish, while 55 percent died in cars in models dated 1984 or older.

However, the data is somewhat generalized and doesn’t take the finer details into account. One reason newer vehicles statistically perform better in crashes is because they weigh so much more. In an attempt to highlight the crashworthiness of modern automobiles, the Australasian New Car Assessment Program chucked two Toyota Corollas at one another last year. One was from 1998 and the other was from 2015.

To the surprise of no one, the newer car fared much better in the test. But what really surprised testers is just how ravaged the older Toyota ended up. A lack of driver restraint systems allowed the dummy to bounce around the interior like a pinball while structural failures resulted in the total deformation of the cabin. A lot of that has to do with where and how the vehicle is reinforced, but weight also plays a factor — and a 2015 Corolla outweighs the 1998 model by about 400 pounds.

 

This isn’t the case for every single model. Some have gotten lighter, but the general trend over the last 15 years is for most cars to pack on the pounds. The prevalence of SUVs has also bulked up average weight. On the road, this translates into more opportunities for two-ton trucks to go head-to-head with a 1,900-pound Geo Metro.

That doesn’t make the NHTSA’s data bogus. Had those two Corollas shared an identical curb weight, the newer model would probably still have shined far brighter in the crash test. But it does explore one more reason why the older cars did so poorly in the study.

The NHTSA attributed continued gains in vehicle safety systems as the primary reasons newer cars performed so well. That progress was also shown in the FARS analysis. Here is the proportion of occupants killed in a crash, broken down by vehicle model year, according to the study:

1984 and older — 55 percent
1985-1992 — 53 percent
1993-1997 — 46 percent
1998-2002 — 42 percent
2003-2007 — 36 percent
2008-2012 — 31 percent
2013-2017 — 26 percent

Included with the study was a “pocket shopping guide” intended to help motorists better understand driver assistance technologies. While an invaluable hunk of consumer data in a world where the average driver appears to have next to no understanding of how these technologies work, we’d have preferred seeing the agency take it a step further by warning drivers not to over-rely on these systems. The NHTSA actually seems more interested in convincing shoppers the technologies are safe.

In one section of the pocket guide, a short FAQ asks: “Do these driver assistance technologies make my vehicle more vulnerable to hacking?” Interestingly, it doesn’t give a yes or no answer. Instead, we get the explanation that the Department of Transportation and automotive companies “consider cybersecurity a critical issue for the future safe deployment of these technologies.”

Research has shown that motorists are far too trusting of advanced driving aids. Many systems can also lead to diminished skills and absentmindedness, despite providing an additional safety net. We also know that connected cars are at a far greater risk of hacking — not just because we’ve seen that it is theoretically and technically possible, but also because older cars don’t have the electronic systems required. While that shouldn’t scare you away from purchasing a new vehicle, we’d like to see the NHTSA operating at maximum objectivity. Otherwise, it makes it seem like they’re trying to hawk new cars and tech on behalf of the automotive industry.

[Image: Institute for Highway Safety]

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80 Comments on “NHTSA Study Confirms New Cars Are Safer, Regulations Not a Scam...”


  • avatar
    tylanner

    How do you cover Safe New Cars and not mention Tesla….

    “Tesla Model S Achieves Best Safety Rating of Any Car Ever Tested – Sets New NHTSA Vehicle Safety Score Record”

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      When not crashing into stationary barriers at full speed with Autopilot engaged.

    • 0 avatar
      conundrum

      @ tylanner

      That was so 2013. The point of the article is that older vehicles are worse. How about this:

      “Tesla’s Model S Falls Short of Top Safety Rating Awarded to 42 Other Cars …” Jan 1 2017.

      Time moves on and so do tests from IIHS. NHTSA testing gave 5 stars, just like many other vehicles, but of course it was Tesla itself that awarded itself top marks, interpreting the results. Rememeber that? NHTS never officially commented.

      Just like Autopilot fiascos that never happened in Musk’s brain, he actually believes his car is better, despite the passage of time and other people’s efforts. Be the same story in 2030 if Saint Elon is still around, presumably by then having figured out how to build cars in quantity. Me, if I intended to hit a brick wall, I’d choose a Mercedes S Class. Something tells me as an engineer that they actually have an structural engineering clue.

    • 0 avatar
      craiger

      And water is wet.

  • avatar
    mmreeses

    comparing apples to apples 100% cars are safer. but as with analyzing anything w/data and lots of variables—it’s complicated.

    You can’t beat physics. guessing that odds are you’re still chopped liver if you’re the 2018 Fiesta that gets t-boned by a red-light running 2000 Expedition.

    And it feels (don’t have the stats) that younger people are driving less. That might affect fatality rates too.

    Just as Homer (or was it Marge) said, you’re safer in the Canyonero.

  • avatar
    TMA1

    The 3:00 mark is the best demonstration, the side-by-side dummy shots. The one in the 2015 car gets encased in airbags, the other goes head first through the steering wheel into the dash, and then gets sprayed with radio parts from a collapsing center console. The interior of the ’15 stays intact.

  • avatar
    road_pizza

    How about we start spending $$$ on creating safer DRIVERS, hmmmm??? Safety features are a good thing but they tend to make bad drivers complacent. See: Tesla Autopilot.

  • avatar
    TwoBelugas

    Look at how much higher the new one sits. In the shot at 1:51 you can see the 1998 model essentially tries to dive under the new one and all the energy is transferred rearward, while the new one rides over the bumper of the 98 almost like a crossover.

    The other lesson from the video: get rid of all your 90s Toyotas because they are all death traps. See you local dealer for a 96 months loan now. Operators are standing by.

  • avatar
    Dilrod

    That 1959 vs. 2009 Chevy crash test was an eye opener for me. 1, seeing how that old car crumpled and 2, realizing all the baloney the menfolk of my family used to talk about how tough those old cars was just that. Baloney.

    • 0 avatar
      Ubermensch

      They certainly were heavier, mostly in the body panels. Not to mention they also rusted while still on the lot and were pretty much scrap at 75k miles. Nostalgia colors everything in a rose tint. People forget about just how terrible those old cars were in every way.

      • 0 avatar
        TMA1

        They just remember the cars of the 60’s being significantly better than those of the 50’s, which were better than those from the 40’s. And then the 70’s happened, so those older cars are the pinnacle of cardom.

      • 0 avatar
        210delray

        If I remember correctly, the Malibu was only about 200 pounds lighter than the 59 Bel Air (the latter being larger in wheelbase, overall length, and width).

    • 0 avatar
      Trend-Shifter

      That 1959 Chevrolet crash test was rigged.
      The 1959 engine and transmission were removed along with all the bracing.
      Also the crash engagement angle was set to maximize the impact into the 1959 Chevrolet.
      Search the interwebs, you will see.
      I wish someone would do a a fair crash test.

      That said, even with a fair crash test I am sure the newer car’s interior compartment would have a more favorable result compared to the old car.

    • 0 avatar
      2manycars

      Bear in mind that the ’59 Chevy was built on an X-frame chassis with no side rails. Probably about the worst design to choose for a crash test. (Though of course a 2009 job is always going to do better than a 1959 model.)

      • 0 avatar
        210delray

        I see this argument made all the time. It’s quite simple why a 1959 Chevy was chosen. The IIHS turned 50 in 2009. Demonstrate the progress of safer cars by testing the most popular car of its day, a 59 Chevy 4-door sedan* against its comparable modern-day peer, the Chevy Malibu in the same body style (not the ancient at the time W-body Impala).

        *Technically Ford outsold Chevy in 1959, but only for the calendar year after the 1960 Falcon was launched. During model year 59, Chevy was king.

        • 0 avatar
          Vulpine

          ’59 was 59 years ago, not 50. It really does NOT fit an anniversary of 50 years. They should have done it with a ’69 model instead.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            Remember, Ralph Naders’ “Unsafe at Any Speed” was published in 1965 and ultimately caused the NHTSA to be created.

          • 0 avatar
            210delray

            Huh? IIHS founded in 1959 — 50th annversary was in 2009, which is when the subject test was conducted.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            IIHS is not NHTSA. The article is about the NHTSA.

          • 0 avatar
            210delray

            Huh? IIHS founded in 1959 — 50th annversary was in 2009, which is when the subject test was conducted.

          • 0 avatar
            namesakeone

            The article may have been about the NHTSA, but the Bel Air-Malibu crash test, above, was done by the IIHS.

  • avatar
    George B

    I’m not completely sold on driver assistance technologies. Collision avoidance radar has probably helped me brake sooner. Lane departure warning reminds me to stay inside the lines, but Botts’ dots have been doing the same job. The big improvements were 3 point safety belts, crash testing, air bags, and anti-lock brakes.

    My boss bought his son a decade old Mercedes E320 for his first car. It’s a shame that the son is adding dents and scrapes to a formerly cosmetically perfect car, but several used luxury cars models like this offer lots of safety vs. cost. Hand-me-down old-man cars from relatives who have given up driving is another source of relatively safe cars for beginning drivers if they’re new enough.

    • 0 avatar
      2manycars

      Advertisements showcasing driver assistance technologies invariably show clueless youngsters getting into trouble by not driving defensively, and really not paying any attention to the road or their surroundings at all. That appears to be the target demographic.

  • avatar
    turf3

    “advanced driving AIDS” not “AIDES”.

    I don’t usually pick the nits of posts from members of the general public but those who offer themselves up as writers get held to a higher standard (that of using the correct word).

  • avatar
    hirostates12

    Just another government plot to take away my right to splatter myself and my family across the roadway whenever I darned well feel like it. Seatbelts are a scam started by the deep state and the Illuminatti.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    Fatalities suck, but I’d be much more interested to see the disparity in injury rates as that’s a far more likely outcome. As crazy as this sounds a 2x difference is not that bad all things considered… however I’m certain serious but survivable injuries like broken legs and head trauma are much more common in old cars.

  • avatar
    thegamper

    Isnt letting the NHTSA be the official opinion on this subject sort of like Devin Nunes handing the press a redacted memo stating with utmost certainty that Trump did not collude.

    “Its official people, case closed! Nothing to see here.”

  • avatar
    Dan

    A major factor completely unmentioned here is that most of the new car buying money in the country is concentrated in urban and suburban areas while most of the opportunities for high speed, potentially fatal crashes are on rural highways.

    https://crashstats.nhtsa.dot.gov/Api/Public/Publication/812393

    https://www.citylab.com/transportation/2015/10/the-geography-of-car-deaths-in-america/410494/

  • avatar
    Vulpine

    I hate that they destroyed one of the “World’s most beautiful cars” to make that point. That’s right, I’m talking about the brown one, not the grey one.

    I agree that today’s cars are a lot safer than older ones, but they’re also one heck of a lot more expensive.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      Growing up, we had a Green ’59 BelAir 2-door with a White top, six-cylinder inline 235 and a PowerGlide. And AM radio!

      It was my mom’s car for many years. Then it moved on to my sister, and eventually to my other sister who used it all through High School, Junior College, and USC days.

      Fond memories. Hate to see this one used in a crash test. They should have used the 1960 version. It wasn’t a rolling sculpture like the ’59 was.

    • 0 avatar
      TMA1

      A ’59 Bel Air had a base price of $2,558, which comes out to $22,100 today. A base Malibu in 2018 is… $21,680.

      Of course, the guy who bought that ’59 Bel Air would have been complaining that he only paid $1,741 for his ’50 Bel Air.

      • 0 avatar
        JohnTaurus

        This.

        And how much more equipment does that Malibu have compared to the ’59? Weren’t heaters still optional back then?

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          Ours came with a heater, but no air conditioning, no power brakes, no power steering, no power windows and the front seat was a bench.

          The two-speed PowerGlide was an option and that’s what made it the perfect ladies’ car – no three on the tree, just put it in D and push the gas pedal.

          My Mom loved it, as did my sisters when they had it.

    • 0 avatar
      AJ

      Agree, I hate seeing a surviver like that destroyed.

      Some guy babied that car … washed it, waxed it, kept it in the garage. It was his pride and joy. He eventually dies, his kids or grandkids don’t want it, so it gets sold and trashed with the rest of his junk like he never existed. :(

      • 0 avatar
        DweezilSFV

        True. No mention made that the car survived 50 years without ever encountering a situation such as that test.

        People drove millions of miles over many years in cars just like that 59 Chevrolet and the vast majority of those rusted or simply wore out.

  • avatar
    brandloyalty

    I had a 22 year old car that I took some pride in keeping in very nice shape and delaying the auto industry selling another new car.

    However I was in an accident with it, that by sheer luck I survived with minor bumps instead of dying.

    I realized that if I could easily afford a new or newer car, it made very little sense to be driving a flimsy smallish car with no airbags, primitive crush zones and no stability control. The replacement resolved all those deficiencies.

    But there was another factor. Contributing to the fishtailing prior to impact was loosness in the rear suspension. I’d been aware of it and already replaced some of the bushings. But not the difficult swing arm mount bushings. Even well-maintained older cars are likely to have this sort of deficiency. Part of the seemingly cheaper operation of an older car is the subtle acceptance of such safety compromises.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      Stability control does have its place… but it also tends to operate where it does more harm than good when trying to get around. I can’t tell you how many people have complained to me how their new 4×4 trucks can’t even get across a slightly-muddy farm field while a 25-year-old one-wheel-drive model just cruises right on by.

      To me, stability control shouldn’t even activate until the vehicle is going faster than 45mph.

      • 0 avatar
        brandloyalty

        Interesting. I’ve been driving vehicles with stability control since 2006 and only felt it activate the odd time while cornering a bit fast on highways. Not a big deal. It would have dampened out the fishtailing in mh accident.

        Traction control, on the other hand, can be a nuisance. Not the mode that brakes spinning wheels, but the mode that cuts the throttle. One vehicle I had with this, if you kept your foot in it the engine would provide power again after a few seconds. The other one doesn’t do this. Both have switches to shut off traction control. This works fine on one, but the other is a hybrid and must not allow completely defeating traction control.

        • 0 avatar
          Vulpine

          Traction control IS stability control, just another brand’s name for it. The idea is to route power to where its needed and/or remove power if there’s a risk of lift–which is usually sensed by a non-symetrical spinning of the wheels. For a 4×4 to get stuck in a field means that power was cut when it was most needed, killing momentum that would have carried the truck on through. Even purpose-built off-road 4×4 trucks have this problem, as evidenced in a Pickup Trucks dot com “mid-size shootout” last year which included an off-road testing series including accelerating in soft sand and a modest hill climb. For all the supposed chops of the Ford and GM trucks, the Honda Ridgeline, using that mode that brakes spinning wheels (but does not cut power) handled the soft sand better than any other truck AND was one of only two that completed the hill climb–the other being the Toyota Tacoma. The others cut power and took many times longer to get through the sand.

          So whether you call it Stability Control or Traction Control, there are times it is needed and times it is not. Proper programming might help but it seems the American design doesn’t work as well as overseas designs.

          • 0 avatar
            brandloyalty

            Traction control monitors for spinning wheels and more commonly recently, throttle position. The goal is simply to avoid wheelspin.

            Stability control monitors speed, throttle position, steering wheel position and yaw forces. The goal is to avoid understeer or oversteer while cornering.

            Up to the ’08 model, the Escape Hybrid had traction control but not stability control. Because all hybrids must have traction control to protect an electric motor from overspin. They do not have to have stability control.

            I can see the two have a lot in common, but it also appears there are distinct differences.

          • 0 avatar
            Scoutdude

            Traction Control is not Stability Control. Many cars have TC but not SC though all vehicles with SC have some level of TC.

            Traction control is all about managing wheel spin, some systems are more intrusive than others. But in general if you get the throttle input in the generally right range then the vehicle can manage the traction with only brake application. Give it way too much throttle and yeah it will cut power. Most modern vehicles can switch off the traction control and a number of 4×4 vehicles automatically switch it off when you put it in low range. While some don’t have a switch to defeat the TC a very light foot on the brake, just enough to turn on the brake lights but not apply the brake, will disable the traction control functions.

            @brandloyalty, no traction control on our 08 Escape hybrid and it is not needed to protect the motors. The traction motor isn’t really at risk of overspeed while the generator motor’s risk of overspeed is managed by running the engine at the appropriate speed.

  • avatar
    brandloyalty

    Are one or both cars moving in these tests? Does it make any difference?

  • avatar
    OneAlpha

    I’d like to know why it’s okay to design a car to be thrown away after one solid hit, but it’s not okay to mandate increased driver skill and awareness.

    Apparently, only HIGH-tech ideas are welcome in the jihad to eliminate the inherent risk of operating a car.

    Why not simple, LOW-tech ideas?

    Why not make manual transmissions mandatory and treat distracted driving the way we do drunk driving?

    Why not make lighter cars with throttle response biased toward agility rather than fuel economy, so people can AVOID crashes instead of withstanding them? That works pretty well for sportbikes.

    Above all, why can’t we encourage a culture of ATTENTIVE VEHICLE OPERATION?

    If this crusade for “safety” truly is about protecting lives and not gradually making cars unaffordable and driving unappealing, then we should consider such things.

    • 0 avatar
      pdieten

      Compared to many places in the world, we do have such a culture. But what do you expect from people? Being an attentive driver isn’t going to protect you from black ice, deer, or other drivers. This stuff exists to protect the good drivers too.

      People have to get over the idea that cars can’t be disposable. They’re just objects. They don’t have feelings and they’re not going to love you back. There’s a reason that you’re supposed to have insurance. If a car gets totaled, the insurance company pays out four or five figures and you get a different one. If a human gets totaled, it’s six or seven figures and they don’t come back. Remember what’s important.

      • 0 avatar
        OneAlpha

        Yeah, black ice and other people will of course continue to be problems, but you can’t tell me that paying attention and being skilled don’t go a VERY long way toward mitigating them.

        Besides, what if the car that somebody’s inattentiveness just destroyed was, for all practical purposes, irreplaceable?

        Say, a pre-facelift model you bought new, with a weird options fit, that’s now out of production? Or something hideously expensive with a years-long waiting list?

        You say “they’re just objects” like we’re talking about the icy logic of math here.

        You know better than that.

        • 0 avatar
          Vulpine

          “Yeah, black ice and other people will of course continue to be problems, but you can’t tell me that paying attention and being skilled doesn’t go a VERY long way toward mitigating them.”

          And therein lies the problem. Too many believe they have skills they don’t while others try to stay well within their skill levels. It’s not always the skilled one that causes a crash but the skilled ones tend to become victims of such a crash.

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        By your description, pdieten, a home is disposable, it’s just an object. Photographs are disposable, they’re just objects. You seem to forget that people tend to get attached to objects as they represent a memory in their lives or something that does or did make them feel good (or bad) depending on its connection. Cars are more than just objects; they’re memories of a time possibly long gone or of a desire that was never consummated.

        Sure, for some cars are ‘just transportation.’ As such, why do we worry so much about their safety? They’re only made to get us from one place to another and if in a crash, sacrifice themselves and far too often their occupants, even today. And if you ask me, some cars today are even worse than those 60-year-old models as they’ve become so top heavy they’re forced to automatically reduce power if there’s any threat of rolling over. The problem never was in the cars, it was in their operators–and still is. Today’s cars just let them drive even more like idiots. I’m sure we’ve all seen people do stupid things on the roads and it seems the majority of them are in cars built with more power than needed to perform their tasks. ‘Just transportation’ should literally hark back to the old 1- or 2 horsepower buckboards.

      • 0 avatar
        rpn453

        “Being an attentive driver isn’t going to protect you from black ice . . .”

        Maybe not, but studded tires will!

    • 0 avatar
      210delray

      Because your simple low-tech ideas aren’t so simple at all! What is the magic formula to get all drivers to “behave” better on the road? Don’t think that we haven’t gone searching for the secret elixir all these many decades since the invention of the automobile!

      The agility argument has been debunked many times in scientific studies. And sport bikes have a death rate lower than that of cars? Come on, get real!

      It’s much easier to enforce drunk-driving laws than distracted-driving laws. How do you know if someone is simply daydreaming, the simplest form of distraction?

      • 0 avatar
        OneAlpha

        I think you missed my point.

        Bikes have explosive acceleration due to their admittedly twitchy throttle response, but cars have the stability of four wheels, so a responsive car is obviously much safer than a bike for escaping crashes.

        There’s obviously no magic bullet, but a combination of a reduced “safety” net coupled with greater expectations of personal ability would go a long way here.

        • 0 avatar
          Lou_BC

          “Bikes have explosive acceleration due to their admittedly twitchy throttle response”

          Have you ever ridden a fast bike?

          “explosive acceleration” is due to a high power to weight ratio not throttle response. Modern sportbikes all have some form of traction control to smooth throttle response because a “twitchy throttle” runs counter to “explosive acceleration”.

          As an example:
          The 1997 KX500 I owned had a much less twitchy throttle response than a 250 cc or 125 cc MX bike but I’d kill them every time in a drag race.

          • 0 avatar
            Matt Posky

            As one of TTAC’s few motorcycle enthusiasts, I can attest that throttle response varies quite a bit between bikes (even new ones). For example, Yamaha’s FZ-09 had a few years where it felt downright dangerous. Far too twitchy to feel comfortable on anything but limp mode (for some riders). Meanwhile the brand’s more-powerful R1 offered a more linear feel during the same years. Faster and more powerful, it had a more forgiving inputs — helped largely by placing more power on the top end.

            As for how useful motorcycle characteristic are for avoiding an accident is another matter entirely. Being smaller and quick gives you extra options for escape but an unskilled rider will make a mistake in a dire situation — likewise, some accidents are entirely unavoidable. I would say a competent and safe motorcycle rider has gained skills that would make them more attentive and engaged on the road in any vehicle — especially since they’re more keenly aware of the dangers due to their own vulnerability. I think that was the point trying to be made.

            But that minor advantage disappears when you’re hit through no fault of your own. In which case, the best you can do is make sure you are inside of something that can take the beating and protect you. That’s why we wear seat belts in a car and helmets on a bike.

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        “It’s much easier to enforce drunk-driving laws than distracted-driving laws. How do you know if someone is simply daydreaming, the simplest form of distraction?”

        If a car is weaving on the road, then the driver is obviously distracted, whether by drink, drug, infotainment or ‘daydreaming.’ There ARE laws designed to get these people off the roads, at least temporarily. All the ticketing officer needs to do is attach video of the vehicle in operation prior to the stop to provide evidence of the distracted driving.

    • 0 avatar
      HotPotato

      That’s how they do it in Europe and there’s a lot to be said for that approach. Then again, over there gas is $7.50 a gallon and tax on new cars is up to 100%, so all that dizzying amount of vehicle choice, ultra-skilled driver training, and unlimited highway speed do come at a price. Granted, they also get shiny new buses that come every 10 minutes and high-speed trains to everywhere so you don’t have to drive unless you really want to.

      I gotta say, I miss manuals. The typical REAL Euro driver has an underpowered turbodiesel hatchback with a 5-speed manual, and that’s what I rented to bomb through the windy mountain roads of northern Spain recently. The cliche is true: it really is fun to drive a slow car fast.

  • avatar
    redgolf

    I wonder what the crash rates are in Cuba – ” 59 Chevy beats out 55 Buick in full frontal crash test”!!! buy or lease one now!

  • avatar
    DweezilSFV

    And yet no mention, at all, of the fact that nearly 50% of deaths in late model cars are due to the occupants being unbelted.

    For example:
    In 2015, 22,441 occupants of passenger vehicles were killed in motor vehicle crashes. Of those deaths, when restraint use was known, almost half (48%) were unrestrained at the time of the crash. Seat belt use, reinforced by effective safety belt laws, is a proven lifesaver.

    http://saferoads.org/issues/seat-belts/

    Add in cell phone use, speeding and drunk driving, idiot proofing cars will only be complete when vehicles are completely outlawed.

  • avatar
    seth1065

    I have put my daughter in volvo’s wagons since she got her license 4 years ago, about 10-12 years old , much better than the honda civics size cars I see in the high school lot, seems to me the older larger used , European cars do a much better job at safety, she just totaled her wagon last week, she walked away and the car did it;s job, we will be looking for another Volvo or Saab on a limited budget to replace it, could have gotten a good deal on a 06 ford escape but I do not trust ford to be as safe as a 06 saab or volvo, it will cost more to keep on the road perhaps but worth it.

    • 0 avatar
      HotPotato

      I wondered why there was so much creaking and chassis flex in my Ford, new enough that I was still making payments on it. That’s one reason I traded it. Shortly thereafter I learned that model was experiencing failed welds at the A-pillars. I wonder if mine was.

      Around that time, we got a gracefully aging Volvo. Not quite as tight as the day it rolled off the lot, but not far from it. I was warned it would cost about a grand a year to keep it on the road, but that seems like money well spent; I’ll take the occasional broken seat latch or wobbly wheel bearing in exchange for…how to put it?…sensible serenity.

    • 0 avatar
      BuzzDog

      “…could have gotten a good deal on a 06 ford escape but I do not trust ford to be as safe as a 06 saab or volvo…”

      A bit ironic, when you consider that, in 2006, Volvo was owned by…Ford.

      But to be fair, I’m not aware that the particular Ford you mentioned is one that shared a platform with a Volvo of the same era. However, some of the cars (Five Hundred, Taurus) are probably as safe as their Volvo platform-mates.

  • avatar
    celebrity208

    The visuals of the test do not seem fair. The ’98 Corolla didn’t have a driver’s airbag installed which should have been standard (per: https://www.edmunds.com/toyota/corolla/1998/features-specs/). If you believe that site the ’98 should have also had side airbags. I realize NZ != US specs but I’d wager a small bet they were closer than one would think, particularly regarding std. safety equip. I don’t doubt that the structural integrity of the ’15>’98 but with such a glaring difference between the two cars I can’t not discount the usefulness of the video.

    I’m sure they had their reason, and I’m not going to spend more time researching why the ’98 didn’t have its airbag(s) installed. I’m not a conspiracy nut but if I was I’d say they’re just trying to promote the benefits of regulation. I’d argue that increases in computing power (for FEA) and consumer preferences were equally, or more, responsible for the improvements over that 17yr period than were the govt. regulations. In the US you have non-govt testing done by the IIHS and CR that inform customers and producers. Just saying. Now… flame me.

  • avatar
    SPPPP

    Where is the link to the actual study? Where is the “26% vs 55%” explained in clear language? This article lacks any meaningful data because there’s no context.

    Was this study looking at single- and multi-vehicle crashes? Was it controlled for the age and health of the occupants? (Lots of old retired people own old cars, and their bodies may not handle violent crashes as well as those of younger people.)

    Also, even if controlled for these factors, one thing the study can’t control for is the detrimental effect that the stronger and heavier vehicles built under the new safety regulations will have on the older and lighter vehicles built decades ago. If you crashed a new and old Corolla built to the same crash standard into each other, then their passengers should have similar fates. But if you crash a 2,800lb new Corolla built with high-strength steel into a 2,400lb Corolla built with mild steel, then, yes, the old one will fare poorly. So is NHTSA apologizing to the extra people killed because they were riding in old cars and NHTSA mandated tougher new ones?

    I am glad for newer and tougher safety standards in general. But parrot reporting of studies like these doesn’t help anyone make an informed decision as a consumer or as a regulator.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    I’d like to see this on a chart with the ATP cost of vehicles behind it (inflation adjusted and non-inflation adjusted).

    “1985-1992 — 53 percent
    1993-1997 — 46 percent
    1998-2002 — 42 percent
    2003-2007 — 36 percent”

    53% to 36% in twenty years is great!

    “2008-2012 — 31 percent
    2013-2017 — 26 percent”

    Diminishing returns. Go back to the 08-12 regulations and reduce cost OR freeze the current standards for a decade so costs come down through economies of scale.

  • avatar
    WildcatMatt

    One point I don’t see much being made of here is maintenance and age. A car of any age is going to depend in part on how far out of spec the various components are. For every older car on the road where everything has been replaced on schedule, there will be fifty who are lucky to have tires with tread on them.

    Having a 1997 Volvo 850 deploy its airbags in an accident will only mean so much when the brittle clips holding the dash in place fail in the impact and the whole thing lands in your lap anyway…

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