So, we've been hanging on to our beloved model year 2000 (or older) cars. After all, they are paid for and everything seems to be working fine. But are we at a higher risk of injury by driving them rather than trading up to a 2008 or newer model? According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), yes!
In its June 2012 report, "An Analysis of Recent Improvements to Vehicle Safety,” NHTSA set out to determine what role vehicle safety improvements played in the historically low fatality and injury rates over the last several years.
NHTSA's data crunchers performed detailed statistical model analysis to ascertain if vehicle safety improvements since 2000 could be responsible for preventing injuries and fatalities. Their final conclusion is not surprising. The magnitude of those findings, however, is eye opening.
NHTSA reported results are rather noteworthy for a 2008 vs. 2000 model year vehicle:
- The likelihood of crashing in 100,000 miles of driving decreased from 30 percent for a 2000 model to 25 percent for a 2008 car.
- The likelihood of escaping a crash with no injuries? That improved from 79 to 82 percent when driving the newer car.
- Improvements made to cars after the year 2000 prevented an estimated 700,000 vehicles from crashing.
- The newer car improvements prevented or mitigated an estimated 1 million occupant injuries.
- These improvements likely saved 2,000 lives in the year 2008 alone.
- Of the 9 million crashes occurring among passenger vehicles in 2008, 200,000 could have been prevented by the newer safety systems.
- Furthermore, the 300,000 injuries to 12 million occupants involved in crashes could have been avoided, with 600 lives saved.
Does this also apply to light trucks and vans? Absolutely, according to NHTSA.
Oftentimes, we safety professionals do not see the fruits of our labor at the end of the day, the week, the month or even the year. But according to this report, there's one thing we can do to potentially increase our safety while on the road: drive a newer car.
J.A. Rodriguez Jr., CEO of Make My Day Strategies LLC, is also an international Fortune 100 EHS senior manager, entrepreneur, a patented inventor, engineer, certified safety professional, professional speaker, member of the Industry Advisory Council at Western New England University, an elected Board Member of the national Voluntary Protection Program Participants’ Association, author of the book Not Intuitively Obvious – Transition to the Professional Work Environment, and an overall great guy.