Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Crash Tests Predict Fatality Risk In Cars, Not In Trucks

Date:
December 18, 2007
Source:
Virginia Commonwealth University
Summary:
Frontal crash tests in laboratories are strong predictors of passenger cars' safety on the road, though they fail to accurately project driver fatality risks for trucks, according to a recent study. The study examined the frontal crash test ratings that vehicles received from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and compared them to fatality rates in the vehicles. It also compared a smaller sample of test ratings given by the privately funded Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, which uses a 40-percent frontal offset crash test, with the vehicles' fatality rates.

Frontal crash tests in laboratories are strong predictors of passenger cars’ safety on the road, though they fail to accurately project driver fatality risks for trucks, according to a recent Virginia Commonwealth University study.

Related Articles


The study examined the frontal crash test ratings that vehicles received from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, NHTSA, and compared them to fatality rates in the vehicles. It also compared a smaller sample of test ratings given by the privately funded Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, IIHS, which uses a 40-percent frontal offset crash test, with the vehicles’ fatality rates.

The results indicate that the crash tests held by NHTSA and the IIHS are successful in predicting real-world crash outcomes for passenger cars -- the ratings NHTSA and IIHS bestowed on passenger cars generally matched the cars’ safety record on the road. However, the ratings for trucks did not match real-world outcomes. For example, in the case of both NHTSA and IIHS, trucks that received the worst possible crash-test rating had on average lower driver fatality rates than trucks that received the best possible crash-test rating.

“If you’re thinking about buying a passenger car, then the crash test scores can be useful to you,” said study co-author David Harless, professor of economics in the VCU School of Business. “But if you are thinking of buying a truck, we have no evidence that the tests are meaningful in terms of real-world performance in serious crashes.”

Harless and co-author George Hoffer, professor of economics at VCU, limited their research to instances of multiple crash tests in a given vehicle line, controlling for the differences in driver behavior in different lines of vehicles. The study examined the testing of vehicles in the 1987-2001 model years. IIHS had fewer vehicle lines to review, because it did not begin its testing program until 1995. The study authors urged caution concerning their findings regarding the IIHS tests, particularly for trucks, because of the small sample of vehicle lines they were able to include in their research.

Hoffer said questions have persisted over the years about the value of NHTSA’s frontal crash test ratings because of the difficulty of simulating a real-world crash in a laboratory. A tiny percentage of automobile accidents mirror the circumstances of a direct head-to-head collision between vehicles of similar size – the scenario NHTSA creates in its lab tests.

However, Hoffer said, “it turns out that the government does as good a job as the private sector does at predicting the relative death rate for passenger cars. The tests can be seen as complimentary of each other, though they are quite different.”

The study was published in the September issue of Accident Analysis & Prevention.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Virginia Commonwealth University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Virginia Commonwealth University. "Crash Tests Predict Fatality Risk In Cars, Not In Trucks." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 18 December 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/12/071215214334.htm>.
Virginia Commonwealth University. (2007, December 18). Crash Tests Predict Fatality Risk In Cars, Not In Trucks. ScienceDaily. Retrieved February 26, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/12/071215214334.htm
Virginia Commonwealth University. "Crash Tests Predict Fatality Risk In Cars, Not In Trucks." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/12/071215214334.htm (accessed February 26, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Matter & Energy News

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Vibrating Bicycle Senses Traffic

Vibrating Bicycle Senses Traffic

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Feb. 26, 2015) Dutch scientists have developed a smart bicycle that uses sensors, wireless technology and video to warn riders of traffic dangers. Ben Gruber reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
In Japan, Robot Dogs Are for Life -- And Death

In Japan, Robot Dogs Are for Life -- And Death

AFP (Feb. 25, 2015) Robot dogs are the perfect pet for some in Japan who go to repairmen-turned-vets when their pooch breaks down - while a full Buddhist funeral ceremony awaits those who don&apos;t make it. Duration: 02:40 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
London Show Dissects History of Forensic Science

London Show Dissects History of Forensic Science

AFP (Feb. 25, 2015) Forensic science, which has fascinated generations with its unravelling of gruesome crime mysteries, is being put under the microscope in an exhibition of real criminal investigations in London. Duration: 00:53 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Researchers Replace Damaged Hands With Prostheses

Researchers Replace Damaged Hands With Prostheses

Newsy (Feb. 25, 2015) Scientists in Austria have been able to fit patients who&apos;ve lost the use of a hand with bionic prostheses the patients control with their minds. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins