When OEMs address safety as a group, death rates drop (video)

  • 30-Sep-2011 04:09 EDT
Ford - Honda incompatible.jpg

The death toll was high when larger vehicles' energy-absorbing front-end structures were positioned higher than those of smaller vehicles. (IIHS)

The decision by global automakers almost 10 years ago to design the front ends of SUVs and pickup trucks so their energy-absorbing structures would align better with those of cars has paid dividends in lives saved. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), the front-end-design measure is a major reason why the fatality rate in crashes among certain types of vehicles plummeted two-thirds from 44 per million registered vehicles in 2000-2001 to 16 in 2008-2009. Those fatality rates apply to crashes between SUVs and cars/minivans of roughly the same weight (3000-2499 lb; 1361-1587 kg). Also credited with the fatality rate reduction was a separate decision by the automakers to improve side-impact protection, mainly by installing side airbags. This video from IIHS shows how engineering design affects crash dynamics.

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