Are older cars more dangerous to drive? Should drivers go out and purchase a new car to improve their odds of surviving a motor vehicle accident? In recent years, the safety of older vehicles has come into question. Some studies indicate that drivers and passengers of new model vehicles are less likely to die in a car accident than drivers of older vehicles. However, this does not necessarily mean that car owners should ditch their old car for a new one because there are many other factors to consider.
NHTSA Research Into the Safety of Older Vehicles
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) examined fatal crash data from 2012 to 2016 to determine whether or not passengers and drivers in older vehicles had a higher fatality rate. The study examined the individuals who suffered a fatality and the age of the vehicle they were in at the time of the fatality causing accident.
The study broke down as follows:
0-3 Years - 26%
4-7 Years - 31%
8-11 Years - 36%
12-14 Years - 42%
15-17 Years - 46%
18 Years - 53%
18+ Years - 55%
The data shows that occupants of newer model vehicles are less likely to become a fatality than those of older models. According to NHTSA, the risk rises incrementally the older the vehicle. It is also worth noting that the most recent report mirrored data collected since the 1970's.
The Role of Technology in Reducing Fatality Risk
Vehicle technology is one of the most significant factors influencing crash survivability. Automotive technology has made significant advancements over the past twenty years. Older model vehicles simply do not have many of these features.
For instance, anti-lock brakes have evolved dramatically and are now standard features. Airbags have also evolved and many newer model cars offer side torso, curtain, center, and seat cushion airbags. Likewise, many newer vehicles offer rear-facing cameras, collision avoidance systems, lane departure warning systems, etc. that were rare features even ten years ago.
The Role of Maintenance and Driving Behaviors
A well-maintained vehicle is a safe vehicle. Driving a poorly maintained "new" car can be as dangerous as driving a 20-year-old clunker. Similarly, how a driver operates the vehicle plays a significant role in determining fatality risk. Engaging in reckless driving behaviors including speeding, drunk driving, drowsy driving, etc., negates any safety advantage offered by a newer vehicle. The bottom line is you can safely drive an older car as long as you conduct proper maintenance and drive the vehicle in a responsible manner.
Contact Brad Pistotnik Law at 1-800-241-BRAD or call us on our local line at 316-684-4400 to discuss the safety of older vehicles. Whether you drive a Ford, Chevy, Toyota, Honda, or other make, we can help you with your car accident claims in Kansas, Nebraska, Missouri, or Texas. We give emergency legal consultations on weekends, holidays and at night. You can call Brad Pistotnik on his cell at 316-706-5020. You can reach Tony Atterbury on his cell at 316-617-9237.