All of the new cars, SUVs and pickup trucks on sale in Kentucky have passed crash tests to meet federal safety standards, but some protect their occupants better than others. Figures from the Highway Loss Data Institute, which tracks accident rates and insurance claims, reveal that even an array of airbags and sophisticated accident avoidance systems are not enough to overcome the fundamental laws of physics.
It has long been understood that large and heavy vehicles cause more damage in a crash and provide their occupants with better protection. Automakers have worked to make smaller cars safer by incorporating structural features like crumple zones and electronic systems that can take evasive action automatically in emergency situations. However, the HLDI data suggests that smaller vehicle occupants are still far more likely to be injured or killed in an accident.
The HLDI used medical payment claims to assess the safety credentials of vehicles manufactured between 2014 and 2016. According to the data, micro car occupants submit these claims about twice as often as other road users. The figures suggest that injury rates fall as vehicle size increases. Small car occupants made the second highest number of medical payment claims while large SUV occupants made the fewest, according to the HLDI.
Motorists are expected to do all that they reasonably can to prevent car accidents, and this is especially true when they drive heavy vehicles that pose a greater danger to other road users. In a personal injury case, an experienced personal injury attorney may seek to establish that this duty of care was not met. Vehicle inspectors may discover worn tires, defective safety equipment or neglected maintenance.