Indiana SUV Buyers Beware – Safety and Reliability are Not Always Priorities

A number of popular sport utility vehicles performed very poorly on the new, tougher crash tests recently conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
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Our Calumet City car accident attorneys are concerned what this will mean for those who are involved in crashes, particularly the small overlap frontal crashes that were tested under more stringent guidelines. There is a strong likelihood that drivers and front seat passengers in the vehicles that performed poorly will suffer more severe injuries than those who are in safer vehicles.

Among those models that performed poorly:

  • Hyundai Tucson;
  • Ford Escape;
  • Kia Sportage;
  • Chrysler Group’s Jeep Patriot;
  • General Motors’ Buick Encore.

The two that did well were the Misubishi Outlander Sport and the Subaru Forester.

Vehicles that earned a “marginal” rating in the test were:

  • Nissan Rogue;
  • Mazda CX-5;
  • Honda CR-V;
  • BMW X1;
  • Jeep Wrangler;
  • Volkswagon Tiguan.

In the test, researchers set up a scenario whereby the vehicle hits a barrier traveling 40 miles per hour with just one-quarter of the front bumper, with the impact occurring on the side left, just in front of the driver’s seat. What this does is concentrate the crash force in a small area that is outside the strong crash force safety structures that are routinely built in to most of the newer model vehicles on the road.

It’s an important test because about 25 percent of all serious and fatal frontal crashes are those that occur in this small overlap area, the Institute reported. On the road, the majority of these crashes happen when a vehicle, for whatever reason, leave the road and strikes a utility pole or tree. However, it’s not unheard of for these types of crashes to involve other vehicles as well.

In addition to head injuries, individuals are at risk for major foot and leg injuries in this type of a collision because what usually happens is that the front wheel of the vehicle will end up being pushed all the way back into the passenger compartment.

These crashes are also especially dangerous because in most cases, the vehicle will spin rapidly after impact. The occupant is often thrown sideways – away from portions of the vehicle that are covered by airbag protection. Additionally, the angle of the impact may result in the vehicle being contorted to the point that the airbags aren’t in the right location to protect passengers, even if they are being flung forward.

The small overlap test is one of many that the Institute performs, and the majority of vehicles did quite well in the other types of tests. General Motors and Chrysler have said that when it comes to overall safety, their two models received the “Top Safety Pick” award from the Institute.

Ford said that it will be reviewing the findings of the test to determine whether there are improvements that can be made to the current design of the vehicle.

Indiana Car Accident Attorney Burton A. Padove handles cases of personal injury throughout northern Indiana, including Gary, Hammond and Calumet City. Call Toll Free 877-446-5294.

Additional Resources:
Ford Escape, Hyundai Tucson SUVs do poorly in crash test, May 16, 2013, By Peter Valdes-Dapena, CNN
More Blog Entries:
Teens and Risks for Car Accidents in Highland and Elsewhere during Summer Season, June 3, 2012, Calumet City Car Accident Lawyer Blog