5 Reasons You May Not Want to Rely on Results from Crash Tests When Choosing a Vehicle
There are many factors involved when choosing the right vehicle and for many buyers, safety is at the top of the list. However, one of the methods people have been using to determine how safe a vehicle is – crash test results – may not be as helpful as you think. Read on to find out some of the flaws. If you have already been involved in a car accident and want to know how you can proceed, contact Law Offices of Fernando D. Vargas at 909-982-0707 for a free legal consultation.
- You cannot necessarily compare one to another
- The way the data is gathered matters
- The ratings have changed
- There are questions surrounding the accuracy of rollover ratings
- Not all vehicles are tested
You can only compare crash test results o others within the same class or that are of similar weights – meaning within 250 pounds of each other. This is because front crash tests analyze exactly how a vehicle is likely to fare in an accident with a similar vehicle – not one that is larger or smaller. It may seem that a heavier vehicle results in fewer catastrophic injuries than lighter cars but this is not necessarily true.
In the United States, there are two main agencies that provide crash test data. First is the National Highway Traffic Administration (NHTSA) which uses a test that looks at vehicles crashing head on to an immovable barrier. This test is not like most actual car accidents. The other agency, the IIHS, uses a test that involves a frontal crash with a barrier that is more similar to another vehicle. These results are more likely to be similar to a real-world accident.
You cannot compare the rating of a car today with the rating of a car built prior to 2011 because NHTSA made significant changes to their rating system. That was the year they introduced the side-pole test and added as series of types of crash test dummies to better replicate the variety of bodies that are involved in accidents.
Rollover ratings first came under fire in 2001 when consumers found out that the rollover ratings were not based on testing but were instead based on calculations. IN 2004 the NHTSA revamped their calculation model and added a fishhook dynamic driving test to increase the accuracy of rollover ratings but some experts do not believe they are accurate.
One common misconception about government crash test data is that all vehicles are rated. This is inaccurate. Both the IIHS and the NHTSA test cars that have the largest volume on the market. As a result, less popular models or cars with limited runs may not be tested at all.
As you can see, government crash test ratings can be useful but they are not enough on their own. At Law Offices of Fernando D. Vargas we know how important safety is and we hope that every client can find the safest vehicle for their needs. If you are injured in a car accident please contact us at 909-982-0707 for a free legal consultation.