Crash Compatibility Issue in Perspective 2000-01-1378
Despite extensive media coverage to the contrary, mismatches among cars, utility vehicles, and pickups in crashes is not a big problem from a societal perspective. On the other hand, if you are riding in a small car that is about to be hit by a big utility vehicle, then the problem looms large. Crash compatibility has attracted a lot of attention lately because utility vehicles have become so popular. The concern is that their designs pose a threat to people riding in smaller cars. But the fact is, two-vehicle collisions between cars (including passenger vans) and utility vehicles or pickups account for only about 15 percent of all car occupant deaths. As a result, countermeasures that focus on making utility vehicles and pickups more crash compatible, however appropriate, can have only small effects on crash injuries and fatalities. On the other hand, improvements in crashworthiness not only reduce crash incompatibilities but also protect across a wider spectrum of crashes.