A recent study aims to debunk the validity of crash tests.
Researchers from the University at Buffalo conducted a study using a different methodology to evaluate the safety of vehicles, other than the standard industry ratings and found that cars with a five-star safety rating might not necessarily be the safest vehicles on the road.
“One of my pet peeves is that I don’t think consumers have very good information about vehicle safety,” said Dietrich Jehle, MD, professor of emergency medicine in the UB School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. “Neither media advertising nor the five-star safety ratings accurately reflect the level of danger or lack of danger in vehicles.”
The study looked at personal injury claims data as an indicator of vehicle safety in the 17 states that have no-fault insurance. By looking at the frequency of personal injury claims for specific vehicles, the researchers conducted a retrospective study of 360 vehicle models from 2010-2012.
The vehicles with the lowest frequency of personal injury claims were large pickup trucks and sport utility vehicles, including the Dodge Ram, Ford F-150, Range Rover, Volvo XC60, Audi A6, Toyota Tacoma and Cadillac Escalade. Vehicles that had the highest frequency of personal injury claims include numerous compact cars: Kia Forte, Mitsubishi Galant, Nissan Sentra, Dodge Caliber, Scion tC, Nissan Versa hatchback, Chrysler 200, Nissan Rogue and Ford Fiesta.
“We found that vehicle type, curb weight and price are all significant predictors of personal injury cost,” Jehle said. “For every additional $10,000 you spend, injuries go down by almost 12 percent. We also found that for every 1,000-pound increase in weight, vehicles were 19 percent safer.”