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ColleenC2
11-09-2007, 09:04 AM
Lighter,smaller cars are less crashworthy:

Worst of all, CAFE kills people. It causes vehicles to be downsized, since lighter, smaller models use less fuel. But since smaller cars are less crashworthy than similarly equipped large ones, the result is higher traffic deaths. According to the National Academy of Sciences' 2001 CAFE study, this downsizing contributes to between 1,000 and 3,000 additional fatalities per year. That's an astounding toll for a program that has been in effect for more than two decades, and yet it's also something that few people know about. According to a poll we conducted last year, once people learn of the CAFE safety issue, their support for higher standards plummets.

http://www.cei.org/gencon/019,03541.cfm

In googling the debate on this forum whether new cars save lives vs older heavy cars the information does not bear out what you all are saying on "Myths vs Facts", I googled this because intuitevly it did not seem logical that lighter cars in a crash less deaths occured as a result of safety features.

Eric
11-09-2007, 10:52 AM
Lighter,smaller cars are less crashworthy:

Worst of all, CAFE kills people. It causes vehicles to be downsized, since lighter, smaller models use less fuel. But since smaller cars are less crashworthy than similarly equipped large ones, the result is higher traffic deaths. According to the National Academy of Sciences' 2001 CAFE study, this downsizing contributes to between 1,000 and 3,000 additional fatalities per year. That's an astounding toll for a program that has been in effect for more than two decades, and yet it's also something that few people know about. According to a poll we conducted last year, once people learn of the CAFE safety issue, their support for higher standards plummets.

http://www.cei.org/gencon/019,03541.cfm

In googling the debate on this forum whether new cars save lives vs older heavy cars the information does not bear out what you all are saying on "Myths vs Facts", I googled this because intuitevly it did not seem logical that lighter cars in a crash less deaths occured as a result of safety features.


There are a number of variables at work.

One is... " all else being equal" - by which I mean that if you compare, say, a 1977 compact with a 2007 compact, the '07 will be much more crasworthy and "safe."

However, there is also the issue of size/mass - and the fact that, in general, today's passenger cars are smaller than they once were. And if you compare, say, a modern "mid-size" car with a "mid-size" car from the early-mid '70s (which would be a full-size car - and then some - by today's standards) the older car would probably have an advantage in certain types of crashes - for example, if struck by a smaller/lighter modern car.

ColleenC2
11-09-2007, 11:17 AM
Fasten your seatbelts for some politically incorrect news: You are most likely to survive a motor vehicle accident if the vehicle you are in is big.

Size and weight equals better occupant protection - it is basic physics - and a big reason for the ongoing popularity of SUVs. You (and your family) stand a much better chance of surviving a major crash in a 4,500-lb. mid-size SUV than in a 2,400-lb. subcompact, especially in a head-on collision.

Yet, ironically, it is SUVs that are increasingly being denounced as "unsafe" - typically by the same crowd that has been trying to force the public into smaller, less crashworthy cars for the past quarter century via government-mandated fuel economy standards.

Part of the attempted crucifixion of SUVs relies on selling half-truths about government crash test data. SUVs are portrayed as menaces because when they are involved in collisions with smaller cars, the smaller cars almost always suffer much more damage. But instead of suggesting that people who value their lives more than miles-per-gallon should consider driving larger, inherently more crashworthy vehicles, including SUVs, critics urge that SUVs (and large passenger cars) be forcibly "downsized" by government regulation in order to make the contest "more equal."

If everyone drove cars the size of Honda Civics, they say, we would all be safer.

But that's demonstrably false. If you run off the road and hit a telephone pole, or a big oak tree, you've got a much better chance of living to tell the tale if you are driving a larger vehicle rather than a compact. And in high-speed accidents, larger, heavier vehicles such as SUVs are inherently more crashworthy than compacts.

Indeed, simply increasing the weight of the typical passenger car by a mere 100 pounds would save about 300 lives per year, according to numerous studies, including those done by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety,1 USA Today,2 the Brookings Institution and Harvard.3 "Traveling in a larger, heavier vehicle reduces your risk of being killed in a crash," states Dr. Leonard Evans of the International Traffic Medicine Association. "There is no more firmly established conclusion in the vast body of traffic safety research."4

http://www.nationalcenter.org/NPA453.html

critics ignore the laws of physics that bigger is safer and mislead the public about federal crash test data. And they continue to push for new federal regulations that will have the effect of making the cars the average American drives less safe overall - costing thousands of people their lives every year.6

ColleenC2
11-09-2007, 11:27 AM
Smallest Cars in US Fare Poorly in Crash Tests
19 December 2006

Summary of the small car crash testing. Click to enlarge.
For the first time, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has tested the smallest vehicles sold in the US market, which gain popularity as fuel prices rise.

Crash test results indicate which vehicles in each weight category afford the best protection in real-world crashes, and this round of tests reveals big differences among the smallest cars, according to IIHS.


Crash deaths in lighter-weight vehicles are higher. Click to enlarge.
Data from real crashes indicates that driver death rates in the smallest cars are higher than in any other vehicle category, and more than double the death rates in midsize and large cars. Death rates in single-vehicle crashes also are higher in smaller vehicles than in bigger ones.
http://www.greencarcongress.com/2006/12/smallest_cars_i.html

swamprat
11-09-2007, 08:32 PM
This whole big versus small debate is getting tiresome.

The laws of physics (big vs small) do dictate to a degree who gets hurt in an accident. (There are a lot of variables at work)

I am not a big supporter of CAFE, but I think that the harm done by the 27.5 mpg standard has been largely overstated along with the feasibility of making a 35 mpg fuel economy standard. Safety mandates and emissions regulations conflict with reductions in fuel consumption.

As a driver, I don't really care about what my chances with a Semi or some mammoth SUV. Although I see these things on the road everyday, my driving style only keeps me in their path for a very short time. I don't spend much time in people's "no zone."

It is debatable that CAFE had an effect on the fatality rate. In truth, the fatality rate dropped from 1930 to today. The only years that it showed an increase was 1977-1981 and in 2005. 1977-1981 coincided with the heaviest enforcement of the 55 mph speed limit and the addition of smaller vehicles in the fleet. Afterwards, fatality rates continued their historic drop despite the fact that cars continued to get lighter until around 1986 and the fact that speeds driven have risen.

Beginning around 1987, passenger vehicles started on their current trend towards obesity. Todays cars are ridiculously heavy, laden with electronic junk and safety equipment that costs a fortune to repair. Is it any wonder that the average insurance bill is $1200 today versus $900 just 6 years ago?

Safety costs. How safe do you want to be?

Eric
11-10-2007, 06:54 AM
" Todays cars are ridiculously heavy, laden with electronic junk and safety equipment that costs a fortune to repair. Is it any wonder that the average insurance bill is $1200 today versus $900 just 6 years ago?"

Here's an example. The other day, my Dad accidentally bumped into another car while backing up in a parking garage. He was barely moving and the damage consisted of a broken left tail-light onhis car and a very minor scratch/dimple inthe bumper of the car he hit.

Want to guess how much it's going to cost?

The other car (according to the insurance estimate) sustained $1,400 in damage to its "fascia" (including one of the reverse sensors that is mounted there). My Dad's car will need a $350 taillight "asembly."

Close to $2k for a minor bump in a parking garage at maybe 2-3 mph.

mrblanche
11-10-2007, 08:49 PM
Lighter,smaller cars are less crashworthy:

Worst of all, CAFE kills people. It causes vehicles to be downsized, since lighter, smaller models use less fuel. But since smaller cars are less crashworthy than similarly equipped large ones, the result is higher traffic deaths.


You might want to stop and think about the logic here. Your mother believes that raising speed limits saves lives, but the fact is that the CAFE standards and the rising speed limits took place hand in hand. One could just as easily argue that the CAFE standards saved lives and offset what would have been increased fatalities from higher speeds.

Logic has many pitfalls for the unwary!

ColleenC2
11-10-2007, 09:31 PM
One could just as easily argue that the CAFE standards saved lives and offset what would have been increased fatalities from higher speeds.

Logic has many pitfalls for the unwary!

One could argue that if that was what the studies showed, however, that is not what the studies showed. The variables involved with the decrease in fatalities due to increased speeds are too many to measure, i.e. better roads, paramedics in every city (just because ones life is saved does not mean that the quality of their life has remained the same) etc.

These studies as recent as December 2006 show that in "actual crashes", not simulated the "heavier vehicle" were more crash worthy and the fatalities were decreased!!

This is not my study, this is several studies from the IIHS to the Brookings Institute, to Harvard and the International Traffic Medicine. Association

mrblanche
11-11-2007, 07:23 AM
You'll note I didn't say that smaller cars were as safe as identically-equipped larger cars.

Eric
11-11-2007, 07:29 AM
You'll note I didn't say that smaller cars were as safe as identically-equipped larger cars.


The reverse is also true.

For example: I have no doubt my 4,000 pound '76 Trans-Am is more survivable in certain types of impacts than a 2008 Honda Civic. If I hit the Civic broadside at 25 mph, the impact will be catastrophic for the Civic. If the Civic were to broadside me at the same speed, the resultant damage would be less - and I would probably have no (or very minor) injuries. Despite my car not having either air bags or "crumple zones."

mrblanche
11-11-2007, 10:08 AM
[quote=mrblanche ]
The reverse is also true.

For example: I have no doubt my 4,000 pound '76 Trans-Am is more survivable in certain types of impacts than a 2008 Honda Civic. If I hit the Civic broadside at 25 mph, the impact will be catastrophic for the Civic. If the Civic were to broadside me at the same speed, the resultant damage would be less - and I would probably have no (or very minor) injuries. Despite my car not having either air bags or "crumple zones."






I think you'd be surpised, actually. My bet would be on the survivability of the Civic. I know it doesn't make sense, but that's what the crash tests say.


By the way, if you made the same argument taking a 2008 Crown Vic vs a 2008 Focus, I would agree with your premise.

This is, by the way, one of those "counterintuitive" results.

swamprat
11-11-2007, 10:30 PM
Lighter,smaller cars are less crashworthy:

Worst of all, CAFE kills people. It causes vehicles to be downsized, since lighter, smaller models use less fuel. But since smaller cars are less crashworthy than similarly equipped large ones, the result is higher traffic deaths.


You might want to stop and think about the logic here. Your mother believes that raising speed limits saves lives, but the fact is that the CAFE standards and the rising speed limits took place hand in hand. One could just as easily argue that the CAFE standards saved lives and offset what would have been increased fatalities from higher speeds.

Logic has many pitfalls for the unwary!


Both took place during a period of falling fatality rates.

swamprat
11-11-2007, 10:33 PM
You'll note I didn't say that smaller cars were as safe as identically-equipped larger cars.


The reverse is also true.

For example: I have no doubt my 4,000 pound '76 Trans-Am is more survivable in certain types of impacts than a 2008 Honda Civic. If I hit the Civic broadside at 25 mph, the impact will be catastrophic for the Civic. If the Civic were to broadside me at the same speed, the resultant damage would be less - and I would probably have no (or very minor) injuries. Despite my car not having either air bags or "crumple zones."




It is no doubt more survivable in certain types of impacts, however, I believe that occupant protection is better in most all new cars (except for a tin box like the Chevy Aveo).

Even if a smaller hit you and there wasn't much damage to the car, the force may have made a direct transfer to you or the passenger...

You need pretty sophisticated tools to determine what the potential outcome is.