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SUVs Now Safer in Car Accidents in Alabama and Elsewhere

Jun 12, 2011 - Car Accidents by

A recent report from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety says that today’s sport utility vehicles are among the vehicles least likely to roll over and most likely to keep occupants safe during an SUV accident in Alabama and elsewhere throughout the country.

This report analyzed the most recent data of accident death rates throughout the country, according to a post entitled “S.U.V.’s, Longtime Targets of Auto Safety Analysts, Get High Marks From I.I.H.S.” by Cheryl Jensen at The New York Times.
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Another new finding released in the study is that the Institute no longer urges parents to keep their young drivers from behind the wheel of an SUV. By contrast, in 2/?p=1007 the Institute reported that the vehicles’ high centers of gravity made them more prone to rollovers. The type of car you choose can greatly affects your chances, and your teen driver’s chances, of survival in a serious accident.

Our Tuscaloosa car accident lawyers are happy to report that the driver death rate has also dropped significantly for all types of passenger vehicles. It is also important to note that the most drastic drop in death rates was seen in these SUV stats. Safe driving advocates point to the SUV’s adoption of electronic stability control for the new title of “safest passenger vehicles on the road.”

“We have been seeing these patterns of improvements in SUVs,” said Anne McCartt, Senior Vice President of Research at the Institute. “But putting all this together and looking at it in different ways, it just really is striking.”

Electronic stability control is now available in SUVs to help drivers to maintain control of a vehicle. It keeps the vehicle on its intended path and helps prevent skids. A new safety standard issued by the federal government now requires this electronic stability control on all new passenger vehicles. Manufacturers are starting with all of the 2012 models.

“The rollover risk in SUVs used to outweigh their size/weight advantage, but that’s no longer the case, thanks to ESC,” McCartt said.

This analysis of passenger vehicle data is conducted every few years by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. The agency conducts these reports to pinpoint differences in the safety features of all kinds of vehicles. It looks for changes in the safety of the fleet over time. The last set of data was analyzed in 2/?p=1007.

From 2006 to 2008, The Institute found the death rate was 48 per million registered vehicles. This showed a 49 percent decrease from the 2/?p=1007 data.

Death rates in SUVs dropped nearly 60 percent.

“There may be other factors, but we think electronic stability control is the primary factor,” McCartt said,
The report also included driver death rates for each of more than 150 individual vehicles, ranging from a zero death rate for seven models to 143 deaths for drivers of the Nissan 350Z sports car.

The Institute reports that SUVs are most commonly used as family vehicles. For this reason, researchers believe that parents’ potentially heightened vigilance behind the wheel could have helped to lower these statistics.

It also concluded that the redesign of the vehicle could be a main factor in its increased safety. Advocates have continuously pushed manufactures to make tall SUVs more compatible with and less damaging to cars in a collision. Many automakers have reported to have lowered their chassis. This lowering has also made them less likely to roll over. In another attempt to make them more stable, more and more automakers are trying to make their sport utility vehicles more car-like. They’re abandoning the body-on-frame architecture in favor of a more stable uni-body setup.

Safe driving advocates have long deemed SUVs extremely dangerous. In 2006, SUVs that were involved in car accidents had a higher occupant fatality rate than those in any other vehicle. During the same year, nearly half of all SUV occupant deaths were caused by rollover accidents. More than 12,000 people have been killed in SUV rollover accidents since the first SUV hit the road nearly two decades ago.

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