The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported 388 rollover accidents in North Carolina in 2009. Our Statesville car accident lawyers know that rollover accidents are typically the most dangerous because passengers can be ejected from the vehicle when it spins out of control.
In the past several years, SUV crash safety ratings have failed in comparison with sedans due to the high center of gravity causing the vehicle to flip over more easily when involved in a crash — but that may no longer be the case.
Fox News reports that recent data compiled by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety indicates that drivers of SUVs are half as likely to die in a crash as drivers operating a car. Crash data from 2006 to 2009 show that SUV fatality rates are 50 percent lower than those of other vehicles.
There are a few notable factors that should be mentioned from the study. First, electronic stability control (ESC) has made a tremendous impact on SUV safety. In 2008, ESC became standard equipment in almost all SUVs. The study only examined models made from 2005-2008, so any SUV made prior or without ESC equipment is still deemed unsafe. Luxury vehicles were found to be the safest with the Audi A6 and the Mercedes-Benz E-Class taking the top two spots.
It is unfortunate that the average American family can’t afford these types of luxury vehicles to help keep them safe on American roadways. Small cars like the Chevy Aveo and the Kia Rio are still considered the least safe, according to IIHS. No fatalities were reported during the study for the Nissan Armada and Land Rover LR3, which are considered large SUVs.
USA Today reports the fatality rate for motorists in small cars was 72 per million vehicles for models made between 2005-2008 as compared with a driver death rate of 28 per million SUVs during the same period.
“The rollover risk in SUVs used to outweigh their size/weight advantage, but that’s no longer the case,” says Anne McCartt, the institute’s senior vice president for research.
The generalization is that most families can’t afford larger vehicles in this economy. Small cars are not only more affordable, but are also cost-efficient in terms of fuel and money spent at the pump. In many cases, car safety gets thrown out the window for families who are looking for something they can afford. The automobile industry is concerned that government officials will draft new fuel-economy rules that will result in the sale of lighter or smaller vehicles. They also fear that new safety improvements will be mandated for smaller cars to lower the number of crash deaths.
If you have concerns about vehicle safety or are thinking about purchasing a new vehicle, visit the safercar.gov website for the most recent 5-Star Safety Ratings or information about tires and child safety.
The Lee Law Offices, P.A. is an experienced team of car accident attorneys on your side. If you are injured in a car accident in North or South Carolina, call 1-800-887-1965 to make a free and confidential appointment today.
More Blog Entries:
Defective Vehicles Increase the Risk of North Carolina Car Accidents, North Carolina Car Accident Lawyers Blog, February 15, 2011