Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Passenger car drivers are more likely to die in crashes with SUVs, regardless of crash ratings

Date:
May 14, 2013
Source:
University at Buffalo
Summary:
Most consumers who are shopping for a new car depend on good crash safety ratings as an indicator of how well the car will perform in a crash. But a new study of crashes involving cars and sport utility vehicles has found those crash ratings are a lot less relevant than vehicle type.

Most consumers who are shopping for a new car depend on good crash safety ratings as an indicator of how well the car will perform in a crash. But a new University at Buffalo study of crashes involving cars and sport utility vehicles (SUVs) has found those crash ratings are a lot less relevant than vehicle type.
Credit: mrivserg / Fotolia

Most consumers who are shopping for a new car depend on good crash safety ratings as an indicator of how well the car will perform in a crash. But a new University at Buffalo study of crashes involving cars and sport utility vehicles (SUVs) has found those crash ratings are a lot less relevant than vehicle type.

The study is being presented May 16 at the annual meeting of the Society of Academic Emergency Medicine in Atlanta.

In head-on collisions between passenger cars and SUVs, the UB researchers found that drivers in passenger cars were nearly 10 times more likely to die if the SUV involved had a better crash rating. Drivers of passenger cars were more than four times more likely to die even if the passenger car had a better crash rating than the SUV.

"When two vehicles are involved in a crash, the overwhelming majority of fatalities occur in the smaller and lighter of the two vehicles," says Dietrich Jehle, MD, UB professor of emergency medicine at Erie County Medical Center and first author.

"But even when the two vehicles are of similar weights, outcomes are still better in the SUVs," he says, "because in frontal crashes, SUVs tend to ride over shorter passenger vehicles, due to bumper mismatch, crushing the occupant of the passenger car."

When crash ratings were not considered, the odds of death for drivers in passenger cars were more than seven times higher than SUV drivers in all head-on crashes. In crashes involving two passenger cars, a lower car safety rating was associated with a 1.28 times higher risk of death for the driver and a driver was 1.22 times more likely to die in a head-on crash for each point lower in the crash rating.

The UB researchers conducted the retrospective study on severe head-on motor vehicle crashes in the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) database between 1995 and 2010. The database includes all motor vehicle crashes that resulted in a death within 30 days and includes 83,521 vehicles involved in head-on crashes.

"Along with price and fuel efficiency, car safety ratings are one of the things that consumers rely on when shopping for an automobile," says Jehle. These ratings, from one to five stars, are based on data from frontal, side barrier and side pole crashes that compare vehicles of similar type, size and weight. The one to five star safety rating system was created in 1978 by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Jehle notes that after manufacturers addressed the roll-over problem with SUVs that plagued these vehicles in the 1980s and 1990s, rollover crashes are now much less common in SUVs.

"Currently, the larger SUVs are some of the safest cars on the roadways with fewer rollovers and outstanding outcomes in frontal crashes with passenger vehicles," he says.

Jehle says that prior studies on frontal crashes have found that compared to passenger cars with a 5-star crash rating, cars with a rating from one to four stars have a 7-36% increase in driver death rates.

"Passenger vehicles with excellent safety ratings may provide a false degree of confidence to the buyer regarding the relative safety of these vehicles as demonstrated by our findings," says Jehle. "Consumers should take into consideration the increased safety of SUVs in head-on crashes with passenger vehicles when purchasing a car."

Co-authors with Jehle, all from UB, are: Albert Arslan and Chirag Doshi, MD candidates in the School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences; Joseph Consiglio, data manager/statistician for the UB Department of Emergency Medicine and a graduate student in the Department of Biostatistics in the School of Public Health and Health Professions; Juliana Wilson DO, a post-doctoral scholar in the Department of Emergency Medicine and Christine DeSanno DO, a resident in the UB Department of Emergency Medicine.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University at Buffalo. The original article was written by Ellen Goldbaum. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University at Buffalo. "Passenger car drivers are more likely to die in crashes with SUVs, regardless of crash ratings." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 14 May 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130514135417.htm>.
University at Buffalo. (2013, May 14). Passenger car drivers are more likely to die in crashes with SUVs, regardless of crash ratings. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130514135417.htm
University at Buffalo. "Passenger car drivers are more likely to die in crashes with SUVs, regardless of crash ratings." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130514135417.htm (accessed August 22, 2014).

Share This




More Matter & Energy News

Friday, August 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Flower Power! Dandelions Make Car Tires?

Flower Power! Dandelions Make Car Tires?

Reuters - Business Video Online (Aug. 20, 2014) Forget rolling on rubber, could car drivers soon be traveling on tires made from dandelions? Teams of scientists are racing to breed a type of the yellow flower whose taproot has a milky fluid with tire-grade rubber particles in it. As Joanna Partridge reports, global tire makers are investing millions in research into a new tire source. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Awesome New Camouflage Sheet Was Inspired By Octopus Skin

Awesome New Camouflage Sheet Was Inspired By Octopus Skin

Newsy (Aug. 19, 2014) Scientists have developed a new device that mimics the way octopuses blend in with their surroundings to hide from dangerous predators. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Researcher Testing on-Field Concussion Scanners

Researcher Testing on-Field Concussion Scanners

AP (Aug. 19, 2014) Four Texas high school football programs are trying out an experimental system designed to diagnose concussions on the field. The technology is in response to growing concern over head trauma in America's most watched sport. (Aug. 19) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Green Power Blooms as Japan Unveils 'hydrangea Solar Cell'

Green Power Blooms as Japan Unveils 'hydrangea Solar Cell'

AFP (Aug. 19, 2014) A solar cell that resembles a flower is offering a new take on green energy in Japan, where one scientist is searching for renewables that look good. Duration: 01:29 Video provided by AFP
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:
from the past week

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