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When Shopping for a New Vehicle Consider Safety Issues

08/27/2008
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What do we look for when we go buy a new car? Price is certainly an important consideration and, of course, utility; will it fit everyone it has to fit? We look at color, interior material, and, currently, the crucial “miles per gallon city” rating.

Do we look at the design of the vehicle; the rollover potential; crash worthiness; or safety rating? We try to consider the information that will most affect our safety and the safety of our family, but the advertising issued by vehicle manufacturers can sometimes get in the way. They tell us to buy the fastest, the classiest, the most affordable, or the best gas mileage. Safety is sometimes not synonymous with fast, classy, or affordable.

Vehicle crashes kill more than one million people a year, injuring another thirty-eight million (5 million of them seriously).  The death toll on the world’s roadways makes driving the number one cause of death and injury for young people ages 15 to 44.

There has been significant research done and crash ratings assigned that rate the safety of various vehicles in different types of collisions and rollover accidents. For example, one of the most important factors in protecting occupants in roll-overs is whether or not the roof of the vehicle will resist collapsing into the passenger compartment. There have been many crashes in which drivers and passengers have been seriously injured or killed when the vehicle they were driving or riding as passengers was not crashworthy. If all the automobile manufacturers would adopt and adhere to strict safety guidelines for all automobiles on the road today, a lot of these tragedies could be avoided. Safety should be the key issue when buying a motor vehicle. In fact, if automobile manufacturers would simply comply with their own studies, the safety of vehicles on our highways would be greatly improved.

Where can we go to help us determine the best and safest vehicle to buy? Try Consumer Reports; the National Highway Transportation & Safety Administration; the Insurance Institute for highway safety; and the Highway safety Group.

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