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Why are motor vehicle fatalities rising despite crash testing?

On Behalf of | Oct 2, 2023 | Car Accidents |

Fatal crashes have continued to soar over the last decade despite conscious efforts to stay ahead of the deadly curve. Texas had the sharpest rise among other states, with an additional 255 deaths in 2020.

Even if crash testing simulates real-life accidents and possible driver responses to guide automakers on how to design safe cars, there may still be other factors that influence the upward trend of vehicular fatalities.

Existing crash testing measures may not be enough

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) first used crash test dummies to assess a car’s frontal impact protection in 1978. By 1993, they launched their five-star safety ratings program to assist consumers in making informed purchases.

The crash testing program evolved through the years with additional updates, such as rollover resistance, side crash protection and automated technologies.

However, as car manufacturing develops, so does the number of fatal collisions. Some studies reveal that crash testing procedures may not be enough primarily due to an increase in larger cars that have high hoods, which causes visibility problems.

Among road users, pedestrians and cyclists are most affected when blind spots of big cars, such as sport utility vehicles, lead to severe injuries or deaths. Critics argue that crash testing must not only protect the car’s occupants but also those outside the vehicle. To address this concern, NHTSA included pedestrian avoidance tests in their proposed program improvements.

There will always be risks on the road

Crash testing aims to reduce road risks by yielding valuable data. However, it still comes down to safe driving behaviors and decisions to reverse the deadly trend. If drivers drive drunk or distracted, or do not follow road rules, they may get into tragic crashes. When they do, their legal counsel can aggressively advocate for their rights and protect their future.