In a head-on collision between a passenger car and a sport-utility vehicle, which passengers are more likely to survive is the topic of a recent study presented at an emergency medicine conference.
The findings are revealing and important for motorists to know.
In a head-on collision between a passenger car and a sport-utility vehicle, the driver of the SUV is as much as 10 times more likely to survive, according to a new study – even if the passenger car has a better crash safety rating.
The findings, to be presented at an emergency medicine conference today, show that despite more than a decade of efforts by federal regulators and automotive engineers to reduce the risks in car-truck crashes, there’s only so much that can be done to overcome the laws of physics.
“The overwhelming majority of fatalities occur in the smaller and lighter of the two vehicles,” explains Dr. Dietrich Jehle, a professor of emergency medicine at New York’s Erie County Medical Center, and one of the authors of the new study conducted by the University of Buffalo.
Automakers have taken a number of steps to improve car/truck “compatibility,” changing bumper designs on SUVs, for example, so there’s more direct contact with lower sedans and coupes in a crash. Nonetheless, even when a small SUV impacts a large passenger car, the driver of the utility vehicle is more likely to survive, the research found, because the trucks are more likely to “ride over” the car, according to Dr. Jehle, “crushing the occupants.”
The new study was based on data from 83,521 fatal head-on crashes between 1995 and 2010 reports by the governments Fatality Analysis Reporting System, or FARS. The results are being presented at the annual meeting of the Society of Academic Emergency Medicine in Atlanta.