Report links vehicle design improvements to reduction in deaths

Washington – Improved vehicle designs helped prevent 2,000 fatalities and 1 million occupant injuries in 2008, according to a new study (.pdf file) from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Researchers analyzed passenger vehicle crash data between 2000 and 2008 while comparing vehicle safety engineering features in the 2008 model year against 2000 model year vehicles. Among the findings:

  • 25 percent of 2008 model year vehicles will crash every 100,000 miles compared to 30 percent of 2000 model year vehicles.
  • The likelihood of escaping a car crash without any injuries improved to 82 percent from 79 percent between 2000 and 2008.
  • Vehicle design improvements made after model year 2000 prevented 700,000 crashes in 2008.

Researchers stressed that they did not address which particular innovations in vehicle design led to the improved outcomes, as well as whether regulatory requirements or government safety ratings had an effect.

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