1977-02-01

The Effects of Vehicle Size on Passenger Car Occupant Death Rates 770808

Data on deaths of car occupants during the calendar year 1975 were obtained from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's Fatal Accident Reporting System, and national vehicle registration counts were obtained from R. L. Polk National Profile as of July 1, 1975. Occupant deaths per 10,000 registered cars in the 1971 through 1974 model years were examined by vehicle size. Occupant death rates generally increase as car size decreases. The relationship between smaller cars and increased deaths is especially pronounced in frontal crashes, and in car into other vehicle crashes. Because of this, increased occupant crash protection in frontal crashes-such as provided by air bags and passive seat belts-could substantially reduce much of the disadvantage presently faced by occupants of small cars.

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