Choose Wisely When it Comes to Car Safety

July 18th, 2017 by Attorney Julie Butcher

When we buy a car, safety may not be the biggest issue we’re concerned about. We have a certain budget; we may have many people to regularly transport; we want a reliable car so we can save money and time by avoiding repairs; and maybe we want something that’s fun to drive. The last time you bought a car in Kentucky, how concerned were you about safety?

No matter how much we don’t want to think about it, chances are good you will be involved in some kind of accident in your car. That accident may be a minor fender bender or it may total your car and leave you seriously injured. It’s a risk we all take whenever we drive, so it’s a good idea to manage that risk.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) states that some of the smallest cars available have the highest driver fatality rates. Part of the reason for this is physics. If you’re driving one of the smallest cars and are struck by a larger vehicle, the chances are good you will bear the brunt of the collision.

IIHS looked at data collected by the federal government from 2012 to 2015 and ranked 208 vehicles for fatality rates, reports CNBC. During those four years, 2,822 drivers were killed in auto accidents in the models studied (ones that had at least 100,000 vehicles registered during the time period). The number of fatalities was an increase of 58% from 2011, the last time the IIHS looked at driver fatalities.

They found that two models, the Hyundai Accent and Kia Rio, suffered the highest driver fatality rates. Accent drivers were killed in 104 collisions from 2012 to 2015. On the opposite side of the spectrum, the IIHS reported there were 11 vehicles that suffered no driver fatalities during the same time frame: SUVs including the Jeep Cherokee, Mazda CX-9 and Mercedes-Benz M-Class and luxury cars Lexus CT 200h, Audi A6 and BMW 535.

Not only are the cars with the highest fatality rates smaller, they’re also less expensive. The 2017 Hyundai Accent starts at $14,745, compared to the 2017 Mazda CX-9 which starts at $31,520. People who buy Accents probably don’t have the money to buy a Mazda CX-9 or pay for the additional gas it will burn, and they may not need a large-sized SUV. What’s a person in the market for an Accent to do if they want a safer car?

IIHS lists the vehicles it considers to be top safety picks. For 2017, the minicar Toyota Yaris iA receives a Top Safety Pick, and its base price is only about $1,200 more than the Accent. If money is a concern, you may be able to pay the price of a new Accent and get a safer used vehicle. The IIHS list goes back to 2006 model years, so if you’re shopping for a car, look it up. You may be able to pick up an older, slightly larger, top safety pick like a Mazda 3 or a Ford Focus for the price of a new Accent.

There are no vehicles that come with magic bubbles protecting you from other drivers. If you don’t drive responsibly, you may cause an accident; even if you are a good driver, you may find yourself in the wrong place at the wrong time and suffer an accident. The severity of your injuries will depend on many factors, including how well built and safe your car is. This consideration may not be at the top of your list when buying a car, but it’s something worth thinking about.

If you or a family member has been injured by a vehicle accident in Kentucky, you can rely on the Julie Butcher Law Office, which has extensive experience handling the claims of those injured in vehicle accidents. Call us at 859-233-3641 or fill out our contact form so we can talk about the circumstances of your case and how we might help your family obtain compensation for your injuries.