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The relation between car size and safety rating

| Apr 9, 2021 | Car Accidents |

Many Missouri drivers likely believe they are safer during an accident in a large car than they would be in one that is a bit smaller. The likely logic is that the more metal and plastic surrounding drivers and passengers of a vehicle, the more likely they will survive an accident without serious injury. But a recent study may cause some people to rethink their beliefs regarding vehicle size and accident severity.

Smaller cars and fuel efficiency

Government officials created fuel economy standards to encourage car manufacturers to design smaller cars. The goal is to boost the average gas mileage for fleets. But some people question whether this focus on Corporate Average Fuel Economy Standards conserved fuel at the expense of driver safety.

Safety of smaller cars

A recent study from the National Bureau of Economic Research points out that size alone is not a direct factor in the danger presented by motor vehicle accidents. A more relevant factor is the size of the vehicles involved in an MVA compared to each other. A small car colliding with a much larger vehicle does not have its overall size to blame for the outcome. The real problem for the smaller car is the difference in mass and composition between the two vehicles. The larger, heavier vehicle will most likely push the smaller vehicle back after impact. This fact means the occupants of the larger vehicle will experience less force resulting from the accident.

This point is relevant when drivers compare the safety ratings for different cars. These ratings are the most useful when comparing a car to a vehicle of a similar size. They are not as useful when one vehicle enjoys a significant size advantage. A small sedan with a five-star rating may not fare well in a collision with an SUV with the same rating.

No one leaves their home with the thought of becoming involved in a car accident. But there is a risk of accident each time an individual travels in a car. Drivers or passengers who experience a car accident may benefit from consulting an attorney.