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Old 04-14-2009, 09:19 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Crash tests show small car ratings are misleading

A coworker emailed me this article this morning. IMO its just publicity stunt article. They have one sentence that basically blows the entire article out of the water. Of course, its buried way at the end.

Quote:
In new crash tests, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety rammed three automakers' smallest cars into their midsize models.

...

Fit vs. Accord. The Fit crash-test dummy registered severe leg injuries. The dummy's head also slapped through the air bag and whacked the steering wheel.

• Toyota Yaris vs. Camry. Yaris nearly lost a door. Its driver's seat tipped forward. The dummy's head hammered into the steering wheel.

• Daimler Smart vs. Mercedes-Benz C-Class sedan. IIHS says the Smart "went airborne and turned around 450 degrees … a dramatic indication of the Smart's poor performance, but not the only one." Much of the interior was shoved into the crash dummy "from head to feet."

...

Dave Schembri, president of Smart, says, "If you carry this to the nth degree, we'd all be driving 18-wheelers." And, he says, fewer than 1% of crashes are as violent as the IIHS test.

Yeah, lets test something that accounts for less than 1% of crashes! Good idea.

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Old 04-14-2009, 10:31 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Here's the IIHS news release

From Car accident - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Quote:
Head-on collision (123,000 crashes, only 2.0% of all US crashes, but 10.1% of US fatal crashes)

<snip>

Rollover, head-on, pedestrian, and bicyclist crashes combined are only 6.1% of all crashes, but cause 34.5% of traffic-related fatalities.[citation needed]
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Old 04-28-2009, 07:53 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I believe that official test results use a numerical scale,with thresholds for degree of injury,for instance "Head Impact Criteria" HIC and "Side Impact Criteria" SIC.I don't see any of these terms used in the piece.And was a velocity given? A 20-mph head-on impact with a fixed barrier is lethal for an un-restrained driver or occupant where no safety features in the car exist.Col.Stapp survived a 63-G deceleration,going from 632-mph to zero,over 1.4 seconds,equivalent to a head-on collision into a concrete wall and walked away,no doubt sore and black-eyed.Indycar and F-1 drivers slam the walls at over 200-mph,with face-on velocities over 60-mph and survive,driving cars 400-pounds lighter than MetroMpg's Firefly/Metro.I've got numbers from these same folks from actual collisions showing lower injuries in cars sometimes with 33% of the mass of other cars.Maybe not head-on collisions,but injury collisions.A few studies demonstrate that the important criteria for safety are the driver,where mass is distributed in the car,not mass based on "size" of a car.Ledgerdermain hurts evrybody.It hurt with radium.It hurt with thalidomide.It hurt with Heroin,DES,red dye#2,cyclomates,fen-fen,carbontetrachloride,tobacco,PCBs,HFCs,etc..The petro-Nazis should be careful how they twist the debate over CAFE standards,using scare-tactics(always fear-based marketing) to jade fuel-efficient vehicles in the eye of consumers.Getting out of bed is dangerous.Driving incurs risk-taking.
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Old 04-28-2009, 08:45 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aerohead View Post
I believe that official test results use a numerical scale,with thresholds for degree of injury,for instance "Head Impact Criteria" HIC and "Side Impact Criteria" SIC.I don't see any of these terms used in the piece.And was a velocity given?
The Status Report(pdf), Vol. 44, No. 4, April 14, 2009 -
found in the sidebar of the previously cited IIHS News Release provides more detail.
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Old 04-29-2009, 12:18 PM   #5 (permalink)
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You know, I wish some people could somehow manage to wrap their heads around the idea that there are some of us who just don't care all that much about crash safety, especially if that means we all have to drive 6000 lbs SUVs. I've ridden motorcycles most of my life; most of my cars have been sports cars; I've done a lot of bike commuting & recreational riding. Oh, and I back-country ski, climb mountains, fly small planes, play with kayaks & sailboards... Is there ANYTHING in there that would even remotely suggest that automotive crash safety is high on my list of priorities?
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Old 04-29-2009, 12:29 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by jamesqf View Post
I wish some people could somehow manage to wrap their heads around the idea that there are some of us who just don't care all that much about crash safety, especially if that means we all have to drive 6000 lbs SUVs.
Yup, The solution isn't bigger vehicles, the solution is better drivers.
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Old 04-29-2009, 12:38 PM   #7 (permalink)
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It is not that we don't care about crash safety, it is that we focus on safety in other areas and hope not to crash. AND we don't rely on expensive, heavy, engineered solutions to save us from our stupidity. Note: I am not calling us stupid.
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Old 04-29-2009, 01:04 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Another thought...all of this safety gear and design in newer cars (including the perception of weight=safety) doesn't reduce accidents only the survivability of an accident. Imagine what would happen if they spent more time and money to educate drivers (slow down, awareness) and actually reduce the amount of accidents and the severity of these. Address the cause not the symptom.
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Old 04-29-2009, 06:52 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dcb View Post
Yup, The solution isn't bigger vehicles, the solution is better drivers.
I basically agree, but suspect the solution is more complicated than a single change. In the case of better drivers, the question is what laws/regulations should be enacted to produce them.

Quote:
Originally Posted by doviatt View Post
Another thought...all of this safety gear and design in newer cars (including the perception of weight=safety) doesn't reduce accidents only the survivability of an accident. Imagine what would happen if they spent more time and money to educate drivers (slow down, awareness) and actually reduce the amount of accidents and the severity of these. Address the cause not the symptom.
Awareness is the crux of the matter, but may be the most difficult change to implement.

The later half of the report had some similar suggestions regarding speed.
Quote:
Setting higher federal fuel economy targets isn’t the only way to conserve fuel. How about lowering speed limits? Going slower uses less fuel to cover the same distance. There’s a big safety bonus, too, that’s evident in the experience of the 1970-80s (see Status Report, Nov. 22, 2003; on the
web at iihs.org).

Goaded by federal lawmakers, every state adopted 55 mph speed limits on interstate highways in 1974. The impetus was the 1973 oil embargo, and the idea was to conserve fuel by slowing down motorists until automakers
could build cars that use less gas. The immediate effect was to save thousands of barrels of fuel per day — and thousands of lives. In
fact, highway deaths declined about 20 percent the first year, from 55,511 in 1973 to 46,402 in 1974. The National Research Council estimated that most of the reduction was due to the lower speed limit, and the rest was because of reduced travel. By 1983 the national maximum 55 mph limit still was saving 2,000 to 4,000 lives annually.

With the oil crisis a thing of the past by the middle of the 1980s, Congress lifted pressure on states to retain 55. Speed limits began going up in 1987, and so did occupant deaths in crashes. Fifteen to 30 percent increases
were documented.

“The national maximum speed limit was adopted to save fuel, but it turned out to be one of the most dramatic safety successes in motor vehicle history,” Lund points out. “The political will to reinstate it probably is lacking, but if policymakers want a win-win approach, this is it. It saves fuel and lives at the same time.”
Nobody in this thread has mentioned it thus far, but I also find this portion of the report agreeable.
Quote:
Another way to serve both safety and fuel economy would be to curtail the horsepower race. Only a few cars used to be capable of 300 horsepower, but now many cars match this. Average horsepower is 70 percent higher than it was in the mid-1980s, and some of today’s high performance cars surpass the power of even the muscle cars of the 1960-70s. If an automaker were forced to use engine-enhancing technology to improve fuel efficiency instead of to boost performance, safety would improve, too, because vehicles with souped-up horsepower are associated with increased injury risk (see Status Report, April 22, 2006; on the web at iihs.org).
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Old 04-29-2009, 07:01 PM   #10 (permalink)
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safety

In the last two weeks I've talked with seven governmental bodies about US energy policy,from local municipal health department,Nobel Prize recipient,IIPC panel member,Phd scientist,and Head of Texas Dept. of Transportation' Sustainability program.None,not one of these people factored,or even thought of factoring the safety of the US military overseas,or civilians in Iran,Iraq,or Afganistan with respect to US reliance (about 70% now) on foreign oil,much of which comes from areas known to be hostile towards the US.---------- Pedantic freaks who can't look beyond the page of a book,who conveniently exist in a total vacuum,oblivious to the outer world,and the victims they create from the microcephalytic cognitive processes manifested in their behavior.No one really cares about safety.It's just a means to inflate car prices and give motorists a bit better peace of mind as they drive to their death.The safety issue has been stood on it's head.Any collision with a closing velocity of 80-mph is gonna get nasty.How about pitting two Hummers in a head-on.And since they're obviously so much safer,let's raise the ante to 160 mph.

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