As a driver, you’re probably aware of the many factors that can contribute to the risk of getting into an accident when you get behind the wheel. Having a little too much to drink. Driving on wet roads. Texting.
Here’s another safety consideration to take into account—the age of your car. According to recent research from the NHTSA, the older your car, the greater the likelihood is that you’ll be involved in a fatal accident while driving it.
The study found that drivers are 71% more likely to die in a car crash if they are driving a car that is 18 years or older. This is an alarming statistic, particularly when you consider how often inexperienced teenage drivers are placed behind the wheel of less-expensive used cars. Not surprisingly, the research noted that teens are far more likely to be involved in a fatal crash for exactly this reason – because they tend to buy cheaper, older cars.
Why Are Older Cars More Dangerous?
After years of being on the road, older vehicles are almost certainly not going to be running as smoothly as they once did. Brakes begin to weaken, engines rust, airbags malfunction, and electrical systems fail.
What’s more, older cars are not equipped with the technological advances in safety that newer models enjoy. Since 2012, vehicles have been required to be built with electronic stability control, which is important for helping drivers maintain control on slippery roads. Since 2007, passenger cars have come with a tire pressure monitor, which alerts you when you’ve put enough air in the tires with a series of beeps.
Newer cars can also boast intelligent airbags, lane departure warnings, blind spot detection, day-time running lights, and a variety of structural improvements. Perhaps most importantly, today’s cars are better than ever at absorbing the force of a crash around the driver in the event of a crash, reducing the severity of injury.
,p>It seems as though new advancements to safety technology are happening every day. One Mercedes-Benz model now has a feature that detects drowsy driving behavior, alerting drivers and even directing them to the nearest coffee shop. Ford has begun installing inflatable seat belts in backseats, which can act as additional protection for passengers in the event of an accident.
Older cars, however, receive few, if any of these safety benefits. Drivers of older cars enjoy significantly less protection than drivers of modern cars, and are far more likely to lose control of their vehicle and cause an accident.
Choose Your Cars Carefully
Unfortunately, it’s not always financially possible to buy the latest new car with the most advanced safety features—especially if you’re buying a car for your teen. If you do decide to purchase a used car, keep the following principles in mind:
Bigger is better. The bigger and heavier a vehicle is, the more protection it is likely to be able to provide in an accident.
Electronic Stability Control is essential. Some models released before 2012 do not have this feature, which is essential for helping maintain control on slippery roads.
Check out safety ratings. When purchasing a used vehicle, try to find one with the highest safety ratings possible. At the very least, vehicles should have good ratings in the IIHS moderate overlap front test, good ratings in the IIHS side crash test, and at least four stars from the NHTSA.
If you or a family member has been injured in an automobile accident because of the safety limitations of an older vehicle, contact a seasoned car accident attorney. An knowledgeable attorney can help you understand your options, and recover compensations necessary for medical bills, repairs, and long term recovery.
About The Author:
John K. Lawlor, a South Florida personal injury attorney who focuses his practice on complex personal injury, wrongful death, and professional malpractice, founded the law firm of Lawlor, White, & Murphey in 1998. Since 1995, Mr. Lawlor’s trial advocacy and litigation skills, as well as his wide-ranging legal expertise, have provided plaintiffs and their families with a distinct advantage when seeking financial compensation and justice for injuries caused by the negligence of others. Mr. Lawlor is an EAGLE member of the Florida Bar Association and an active member of the American Association for Justice, the Broward County Justice Association, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), and several professional associations.