For years, Hawaii car accident lawyers have found high fatality numbers in accidents involving smaller passenger vehicles, and SUVs and pickup trucks. Fortunately, those risks for occupants of smaller cars involved in accidents with sports utility vehicles have been dropping steadily over the past decade.
According to a study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the number of passenger car and minivan occupants dying in accidents involving SUVs and pickup trucks stood at a rate of 44 per million registered vehicles about a decade ago. Those numbers had dropped to 16 per million registered vehicles by 2008-2009. That represents a two-thirds decline, and has come about because of two main factors – safer SUV design and enhanced auto safety features.
Passenger cars and minivans are now equipped with more protective safety features, like side airbags and electronic stability control. The bigger factor in these declining death rates, however, has been the auto industry’s investment in better SUV and pickup truck design. The redesign of SUVs has led to lower bumper levels that increase compatibility with smaller cars, and reduce injuries and deaths to occupants in smaller cars.
This redesign was the result of a request by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The agency wanted the auto industry to do more to keep smaller passenger vehicle occupants safer in crashes. The result was a design that protects smaller cars from the kind of devastating impact that used to result from SUV crashes earlier.
In fact, Hawaii car accident lawyers have found that safer car design and the presence of more advanced safety features in automobiles has contributed to an overall drop in auto accident fatalities. In 2010, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration confirmed 32,788 traffic accident fatalities, the lowest number since 1949.