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Old 12-10-2018, 07:50 PM
Wesley Clark Wesley Clark is offline
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How much safer are modern cars compared to cars from 20 years ago

I'm not sure if this is the right forum.

Basically, how much safer is a 2018 car vs a 1998 car? I know modern cars have things like lane assist, brake assist, cameras, etc but do those reduce the number of accidents?

Basically do modern cars have fewer accidents due to modern technology, and if they do have an accident, are the drivers safer in a meaningful way? Are airbags, crumple zones, etc better than 20 years ago?

I'm comparing a modern car which has all the safety features except autonomous driving (which isn't mainstream yet).
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Last edited by Wesley Clark; 12-10-2018 at 07:51 PM.
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Old 12-10-2018, 08:22 PM
jz78817 jz78817 is offline
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Originally Posted by Wesley Clark View Post
I'm not sure if this is the right forum.

Basically, how much safer is a 2018 car vs a 1998 car? I know modern cars have things like lane assist, brake assist, cameras, etc but do those reduce the number of accidents?

Basically do modern cars have fewer accidents due to modern technology, and if they do have an accident, are the drivers safer in a meaningful way? Are airbags, crumple zones, etc better than 20 years ago?

I'm comparing a modern car which has all the safety features except autonomous driving (which isn't mainstream yet).
a good bit of it has been structural design. Here's a crash test which demonstrates this. The Nissan Tsuru in this video is the same car as the 1994 Sentra which was sold here.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=85OysZ_4lp0

The driver of the Tsuru would be dead. The driver of the Versa could likely have opened the door and stepped out.

the IIHS has been instrumental in changing people's minds about the role of the car in a collision. Oldsters brag that their '57 land barge could bump into another car in the parking lot and have no damage, but those cars were balls of tinfoil in an actual crash. The mindset now is that the car is to protect the occupants at all costs.

Last edited by jz78817; 12-10-2018 at 08:25 PM.
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Old 12-10-2018, 08:27 PM
lazybratsche lazybratsche is offline
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Want a head to head comparison? Here's a video of a 1998 and a 2015 Corolla in an offset frontal crash test, and I certainly know which car I'd be in. Granted, the Corolla is probably one of the more dramatic possible examples of progress, since in 1998 it was very much a cheap econobox, and more upmarket cars certainly had effective airbags and crumple zones.
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Old 12-10-2018, 08:30 PM
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2015 vs. 1998 Corolla

ETA: same test as above but seems to be slightly better video quality

Last edited by scr4; 12-10-2018 at 08:31 PM.
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Old 12-10-2018, 08:34 PM
scr4 scr4 is offline
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Also a 1997 Rover 100 vs. 2015 Honda Jazz (Fit)
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Old 12-10-2018, 09:14 PM
Lacunae Matata Lacunae Matata is offline
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Engineered crumple zones and such have advanced a lot in 20 years. Ditto airbags.

My parents enjoy reminiscing about the good old days, when the average Chrysler could withstand a tank attack and maintain bodily integrity.

Personally, I appreciate that my high school senior daughter has lost zero classmates in car crashes. Several wrecks, with bad outcomes for the cars, but the kids are all right. (Back in my day, we drove K Cars and our parents' old tanks. Every one of my high school yearbooks has 1-3 pages of memorials for classmates who died in car crashes.)
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Old 12-10-2018, 11:03 PM
scr4 scr4 is offline
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Anyone who thinks 1950s cars were safe needs to see this crash test video (1959 Chevy vs. 2009).

Last edited by scr4; 12-10-2018 at 11:03 PM.
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Old 12-10-2018, 11:22 PM
nearwildheaven nearwildheaven is offline
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Superficially, the safety features like seat belts and air bags haven't changed all that much in the past 20 years. However, 20 years before that? That's a whole different story. When I started driving in 1981, seat belts were installed in cars, but wearing them was optional. Air bags were uncommon, and some people requested that they be removed because there were credible stories about them going off when they shouldn't have.

Kids' car seats have changed a lot as well, even though I've never been in the market for one. The first ones looked like torture devices! I couldn't blame the kids for refusing to sit in them.
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Old 12-11-2018, 12:18 AM
Lacunae Matata Lacunae Matata is offline
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Daughter just got home from work, and I double checked my impression. Of her cohort - class of 2018-2020, she knows of zero people who died in car wrecks. (One acquaintance died of a head injury, and one in a house fire.) There are about 450 kids in each graduating class at the local high school.

I graduated from the same school 31 years ago. There were about 225 kids in each grade then. I can think of 7 people in the classes of 1986-1988 who died in car crashes before high school graduation.

Cars are safer now. Medical technology is also better, and laws like graduated drivers licensing and stricter DUI enforcement/penalties help. But cars are just plain safer now.
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Old 12-11-2018, 02:38 AM
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I'm surprised no one posted this yet, but here is automobile death rates over time.
Fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles traveled fell from 1.64 in 1997 to 1.16 in 2018. And this fall was from a low number - it was 5.19 in 1968 when I began to drive and from 7.19 in 1951 when I was born.

Besides the other things mentioned, cars are made better. My wife was driving my Saturn, and got rammed by a shithead running a red light. The car got hit in the driver side front door - about the worst place possible, but since the Saturn had a good cage she escaped. She didn't even spend the night in the hospital, and only had to do some physical therapy. She would have been killed in an older less safe car.
And this car didn't even have side airbags.
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Old 12-11-2018, 02:41 AM
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Originally Posted by nearwildheaven View Post
Kids' car seats have changed a lot as well, even though I've never been in the market for one. The first ones looked like torture devices! I couldn't blame the kids for refusing to sit in them.
Yeah, my grandson's carseat is a hell of a lot better than the ones we had for our kids, and those were better than the ones I had when I was a kid - like nothing, not even a seat belt.
I don't know if the old car seats were torture devices, but they were much easier to get out of, and were not used for nearly as long.
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Old 12-11-2018, 07:04 AM
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Late-model cars have a lot more features that help you survive a wreck. They also have more things to help keep you from getting into a wreck in the first place.

One thing cars have now that they didn't have 20 years ago is electronic stability control (ESC). This system monitors a chassis yaw sensor (to assess rotation around a vertical axis), steering angle, and all four individual wheel speeds to figure out if the car is starting to spin out of control. If so, it brakes each of the four wheels as needed in order to end the skid. The classic scenario where this is intended to help is when a driver swerves suddenly to avoid an obstacle, and then suddenly swerves back to avoid going off-road (in Sweden, the test for this is called the moose test). Without ESC, a maneuver like this can result in an uncontrolled skid; this may mean going off-road and hitting an obstacle, or for vehicles with high center of mass (i.e. most SUVs), the result can be a rollover, which often has bad outcomes for occupants.

Here's a video explaining and demonstrating how ESC works and what it can/can't do.
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Old 12-11-2018, 08:26 AM
Balthisar Balthisar is offline
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Originally Posted by Machine Elf View Post
One thing cars have now that they didn't have 20 years ago is electronic stability control (ESC).
This is one of those things that I know my cars have had, but never really bothered to learn about until it took effect. Last winter during a nice, 2įC day, I was on my way to a local plant a bit south of DTW, driving my RWD Mustang. Road conditions were great, until they werenít. I saw a small SUV ahead of me nearly lose control, and then I started to slide. Shit! I guess itís my turn to end up in the ditch after 30 years of driving. But, nope. Like magic the car righted itself. Iím not kidding when I say that the experience was absolutely amazing.

So, all of the body construction discussions aside, this is a point towards that OPís question about avoidance.

(And before others laugh at me, Iím a body engineer, not a powertrain guy).
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Old 12-11-2018, 09:31 AM
Dinsdale Dinsdale is offline
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I'm surprised no one posted this yet, but here is automobile death rates over time.
Fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles traveled fell from 1.64 in 1997 to 1.16 in 2018. And this fall was from a low number - it was 5.19 in 1968 when I began to drive and from 7.19 in 1951 when I was born.
Interesting stats, Voyager. I admit my preconception was along the lines of this:

Quote:
Superficially, the safety features like seat belts and air bags haven't changed all that much in the past 20 years. However, 20 years before that? That's a whole different story.
When I used to drive a classic car, my understanding was that the biggest improvements were lap/shoulder belts, and collapsible steering columns. I readily acknowledge improved crumple zones and air bags, but I wonder "how much safer" those have made cars.

According to the table you posted, fatalities have reduced approx. .4 per 100 mllion VMT. While that IS a reduction (and is certainly significant to those .4 people!), it was reduced 5x as much over the previous 20 years.

Moreover, the table shows an INCREASE over the most recent 3 years, and no apparent consistent reduction since 09. What's up with that? My personal thought is that at least some of the safety alerts and buzzers are a distraction, and may cause drivers to pay less attention, figuring the car is looking out for them.

As others have said above, I imagine cars overall are cheaper, as safety devices which were previously offered only on luxury models, are now standard on all cars. But, depending on how you look at it, driving is either one of the safest - or riskiest - activities we all engage in. On the one hand, we all hop in cars regularly, and speed along, often essentially on autopilot with myriad distractions - surrounded by others doing the same. And we generally make it to our destinations safe and sound.

On the other hand, I am often bemused when people/legislators talk about reducing some minute risk in some consumer product, which is far less risky than the driving we take for granted.
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Old 12-11-2018, 09:56 AM
jz78817 jz78817 is offline
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Originally Posted by Dinsdale View Post


When I used to drive a classic car, my understanding was that the biggest improvements were lap/shoulder belts, and collapsible steering columns. I readily acknowledge improved crumple zones and air bags, but I wonder "how much safer" those have made cars.
they did help, of course. at least they kept you from having the steering column turn you into a shish kebab. but they still had the problem of the body/frame/structure not being designed for crash safety. Yes, you may not be impaled by the column, but at about 35 mph or faster the structure was still going to collapse and force-feed you the dashboard.

that's one thing I point out in that crash test of the '59 Chevy. Notice that these things happen when it impacts the Malibu:

1) you see the "rigid" frame buckle, ceasing to offer any protection
2) the Malibu rams right through the firewall, forward door aperture, and A-pillar
3) the driver's seat of the '59 breaks free of the floor
4) the driver is then sandwiched between the seat and the intruding dashboard.

a real person would have been cherry pie in that '59.
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Old 12-11-2018, 09:59 AM
Machine Elf Machine Elf is offline
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Basically do modern cars have fewer accidents due to modern technology, and if they do have an accident, are the drivers safer in a meaningful way? Are airbags, crumple zones, etc better than 20 years ago?
Side-curtain airbags first went into production about 20 years ago. Side impacts are notoriously difficult to protect against. Seat belts don't offer much here: the driver's head tends to rotate toward the door as their body is accelerated by the collision, and then the sudden stop when their head hits the window frame (or impacting vehicle) tends to result in traumatic brain injury as the brain continues trying to rotate inside the skull. Side-curtain airbags provide a more gentle stop for the noggin, resulting in better outcomes:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wikipedia
Curtain airbags have been said to reduce brain injury or fatalities by up to 45% in a side impact with an SUV.
AFAIK side airbags are not explicitly mandatory, but crash safety requirements mean that virtually all manufacturers end up installing them these days.
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Old 12-11-2018, 10:01 AM
Corry El Corry El is offline
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Moreover, the table shows an INCREASE over the most recent 3 years, and no apparent consistent reduction since 09. What's up with that? My personal thought is that at least some of the safety alerts and buzzers are a distraction, and may cause drivers to pay less attention, figuring the car is looking out for them.
That's unlikely IMO to be more of a factor than other uncontrolled variables outside the driver/safety feature interface. Like people texting or otherwise distracted by non-safety technology, or just purely social factors like drug use. The big increase in deaths from opioids for example tends to also imply more driving under the influence of them. That's not a big % of drivers, but deaths in car accidents aren't anything like evenly distributed among all drivers. They are somewhat more evenly distributed because you can be killed by other drivers' mistake, and in some cases weather or road conditions result in deaths where nobody really made a mistake. Still, very skewed.

Same problem even with stats which compare accident rates among cars of different model and age in the same period. Older cheaper cars aren't driven by the same people as newer more expensive cars. In these IIHS stats several luxury model car/SUV's had a zero fatality rate in 2012-15.
https://www.iihs.org/iihs/topics/driver-death-rates

My own impression having had cars with advanced recent safety features is that it's a very remote possibility these features would ever cause an accident by distraction. The point about making drivers too confident, this is also true of older features like 4/AWD in slippery conditions, probably has some validity.
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Old 12-11-2018, 10:46 AM
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I'm surprised no one posted this yet, but here is automobile death rates over time.
Fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles traveled fell from 1.64 in 1997 to 1.16 in 2018. And this fall was from a low number - it was 5.19 in 1968 when I began to drive and from 7.19 in 1951 when I was born.
If you look at the deaths per 100k population, it's pretty clear that there were major improvements in roughly 1970, and that there have been periodic drops ever since. If you graph it and apply a polynomial trendline (4th order) in Excel, the slope is pretty consistent over time. So it looks more or less like the changes since 1998 are about as dramatic as from 1978-1998.
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Old 12-11-2018, 10:57 AM
Dinsdale Dinsdale is offline
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...

a real person would have been cherry pie in that '59.
Of course, I recognize that today's cars are safer than cars from the 50s-60s - and even into the 70s-80s. My question concerns HOW MUCH safer. The OP asked about cars 20 yrs ago.

Even if we use your 59 as the starting point, we see these fatalities for each 10 year period:
59 5.17
69 5.04
79 3.34
89 2.17
99 1.55
09 1.15
17 1.16

The biggest drop was from 69-79, the time at which lap/shoulder belts and collapsible columns became standard, and the second highest between 79-89, when belt usage became mandated. I imagine there were likely other advances during those same periods - likely in crumple zones and airbags, improved brakes, and other areas.

Where on that list do you perceive the reduction in fatalities related to improved crumple zones and airbags? I'm not arguing, I'm merely asking when you think those improvements occurred - and then interested in seeing if a reduction in fatalities corresponded.

WRT the OP's question re: the past 20 yrs, from 09 to 17 the reduction is .4 - much lower than any other 20 yr period. So yeah, the changes over the last 20 yrs HAVE helped, but not all that much.
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Old 12-11-2018, 10:59 AM
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Anyone who thinks 1950s cars were safe needs to see this crash test video (1959 Chevy vs. 2009).
For major crashes like that, give me a modern car. But since I'm one of those fatalists who feels when my time is up, my time is up
and even a Model A is probably safer in a major accident than my Harley
and my concern is more the routine "fender benders"
I do still drive a lot of vintage iron more miles than most people do today. Admittedly this was years back but the last one of those I was involved in the lady who hit me did less than $100 damage to me and over a grand to her own car. Somehow that just gave me a certain level of warm fuzzies.
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Old 12-11-2018, 11:14 AM
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Originally Posted by Dinsdale View Post
Moreover, the table shows an INCREASE over the most recent 3 years, and no apparent consistent reduction since 09. What's up with that? My personal thought is that at least some of the safety alerts and buzzers are a distraction, and may cause drivers to pay less attention, figuring the car is looking out for them.
Smartphones and an aging population.

It's not the safety alert buzzer that's the distraction, it's the incoming message alert that's the distraction. In 2010 about 20% of the US population had a smartphone. In 2018 it was 70%. Distracted driving was already an issue with people talking and texting on dumb phones, and it has just gotten worse as the phones have gotten more addicting.

Driver aides and automation will help pull back some of this increase, just in time for nationwide legalized marijuana.
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Old 12-11-2018, 11:41 AM
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Smartphones and an aging population.

It's not the safety alert buzzer that's the distraction, it's the incoming message alert that's the distraction. ...
So - you suggest that there have actually been MORE SIGNIFICANT gains in safety over the past decade or so than the stats seem to indicate, but that those gains were in part offset by phones/age? Sounds reasonable.

I do not have any "driver assist" notifications on my car, and have only driven/ridden in such cars infrequently. Since I'm unfamiliar with them, I'm not a good example. But I have occasionally found it mildly "startling" to have a light flash and/or a buzzer sound - "alerting" me to some non-issue that I was already aware of. And the 2 guys I have spoken with about such alerts have said that they turned the majority of them off, as they went off in what the drivers considered normal driving conditions.

I DO use/enjoy my rearview camera for parking. And the one alert I would like is for cross traffic in parking lots when backing out of a space. But both of those would likely concern body damage rather than fatalities/serious injuries.
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Last edited by Dinsdale; 12-11-2018 at 11:42 AM.
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Old 12-11-2018, 11:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dinsdale View Post
Where on that list do you perceive the reduction in fatalities related to improved crumple zones and airbags? I'm not arguing, I'm merely asking when you think those improvements occurred - and then interested in seeing if a reduction in fatalities corresponded.
Airbags became a common option on cars in the late 1980s and early 1990s; the last car I bought that didn't have an airbag was a 1991 Mazda Protege (it was an option on higher-level trim packages, but not on the trim level that I'd bought). And, IIRC, in that era, sometimes only the driver had an airbag.

In the U.S., the law began requiring a "passive restraint system" in new cars in 1989. However, that law allowed the system to be either an airbag, or an automatic seatbelt (which was what my Mazda had). The law didn't start to require airbags (for both the driver and front seat passenger) until 1998, so my guess is that you would start really seeing the impact of airbags on the stats in the 1990s and 2000s, as they became more widespread in service.
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Old 12-11-2018, 12:07 PM
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I have one small data point. One of our cars is a 2011 Kia Sorento. A couple of years ago I came across an index that showed how many people had been killed in various models of cars after each had been on the market so many years (I forget, but I think 2 or 3 years). For the first time ever in their survey, no one had been killed in a vehicle, actually two different cars made it. The 2011 Sorento was one of them. And it was a very popular model, we used to see them all over the place after we bought one of the first ones.

It was just a simple list, no attempt to correlate mileage or anything else. And the Kia only has like 4 or 6 airbags. Our 2014 Buick Encore has 14.

Dennis

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Old 12-11-2018, 12:18 PM
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For major crashes like that, give me a modern car. But since I'm one of those fatalists who feels when my time is up, my time is up
you think you can decide that for your passengers too?
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Old 12-11-2018, 12:22 PM
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According to this, the various lane/brake assist features do help, but aren't that common yet.

Quote:
She found the rate of single-vehicle, sideswipe and head-on crashes was 11 percent lower in vehicles with the warning systems. More importantly, the collision avoidance technology cut the rates of injury crashes of the same type by 21 percent, according to the study.
Quote:
Despite the fact there were approximately 6 million vehicles crashes in the U.S. in 2015, the adoption of collision avoidance systems has been slow. Cicchino said just 6 percent of the new vehicles for sale in 2017 include lane departure warning systems as standard equipment. Blind spot alerts are standard in just 9 percent of the vehicles in showrooms.
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Old 12-11-2018, 12:43 PM
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According to this, the various lane/brake assist features do help, but aren't that common yet.
yeah, they're starting at the high end and trickling down. up until now, the only cars I've driven with the full suite of ADAS features have been Lincoln, Cadillac, Mercedes, Audi, etc.
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Old 12-11-2018, 12:57 PM
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For major crashes like that, give me a modern car. But since I'm one of those fatalists who feels when my time is up, my time is up
The problem is that your time is up much sooner in an old car. Some pretty catastrophic looking accidents are survivable in a modern car.
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Old 12-11-2018, 01:21 PM
Corry El Corry El is offline
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Smartphones and an aging population.



Driver aides and automation will help pull back some of this increase, just in time for nationwide legalized marijuana.
Right I mentioned phones but change in demographics is probably another one. More old people lately. And fewer people in prime young idiot driving age range is probably also buried somewhere in the fatality rate reductions of previous decades, along with car improvements and other things.

And again the clear effect of substance abuse on life expectancy directly from drug overdose (though opiod rather than marijuana) lately probably points to more car fatalities from drug abuse also.

Again if look at the IIHS stats by car type, if you have a fairly big luxury car/SUV *and drive like the typical driver of those vehicles*, your personal fatality risk in a car accident is probably close to the zero level several models have recorded in recent years. The absolute zeroes are statistical anomalies, similar models usually have some very low non-zero death rate. But it really depends enormously how you drive, then put on top of that a high level of protection from accidents that are completely not your fault and it's largely gone as a real risk in life. If you really are a safe driver (maybe most people think they are safer than average but obviously can't all be, but some people really are).
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Old 12-11-2018, 01:30 PM
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Originally Posted by bump View Post
If you look at the deaths per 100k population, it's pretty clear that there were major improvements in roughly 1970, and that there have been periodic drops ever since. If you graph it and apply a polynomial trendline (4th order) in Excel, the slope is pretty consistent over time. So it looks more or less like the changes since 1998 are about as dramatic as from 1978-1998.
I chose to look at the deaths per miles driven, since there has been some discussion that safer cars lead to more driving and thus an increase in the accident and death rate, relative to what it would have been if there were constant miles per person. (Not an increase in absolute terms, of course.)
I haven't plotted those numbers, but I wouldn't be surprised if they looked the same. The improvements from air bags, for instance, only involve those who would have been killed even if they were using seat belts.
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Old 12-11-2018, 01:33 PM
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Using the dubious hypothesis that 2 WAGs will equal knowledge, if as I think I heard, pickup trucks are less safe than cars, and if, as I think I heard, pickup truck sales are increasing, does this shed any light on the slower rate of safety of late?
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Old 12-11-2018, 01:35 PM
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you think you can decide that for your passengers too?
"When I go, I'd like to die peacefully in my sleep, like my uncle. Not screaming in terror, like his passengers."
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Old 12-11-2018, 01:50 PM
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Here is a detailed breakdown of highway fatalities, including by seat belt use and due to speeding. Not drunk driving, though.

Here is a site with the deaths for 100M VPM graphed. It also covers the increase in deaths in 2015

Quote:
Still, it's worth noting that motor vehicle deaths increased by 8% ó or the largest percent increase in 50 years ó in 2015, according to preliminary estimates from the National Safety Council. An estimated 38,300 people were killed on US roads.

"While many factors likely contributed to the fatality increase, a stronger economy and lower unemployment rates are likely at the core of the trend," suggested the NSC report.
Which is interesting.

As for drunk driving, I found this

Quote:
Between 1991 and 2017, the rate of drunk driving fatalities per 100,000 population has decreased 47% nationally, and 68% among those under 21. ... Among the people killed in these drunk driving crashes, 67% (7,052) were in crashes in which at least one driver in the crash had a BAC of .15 or higher.
I haven't found any good charts yet.
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Old 12-11-2018, 01:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Kropotkin View Post
Using the dubious hypothesis that 2 WAGs will equal knowledge, if as I think I heard, pickup trucks are less safe than cars, and if, as I think I heard, pickup truck sales are increasing, does this shed any light on the slower rate of safety of late?
I remember that when heavy vans and SUVs were introduced, drivers in them were safer but drivers in the cars they hit were less safe. Might be true for pickup trucks also. But see above for the real reason for the increase.
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Old 12-11-2018, 01:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Corry El View Post
Right I mentioned phones but change in demographics is probably another one. More old people lately. And fewer people in prime young idiot driving age range is probably also buried somewhere in the fatality rate reductions of previous decades, along with car improvements and other things.

And again the clear effect of substance abuse on life expectancy directly from drug overdose (though opiod rather than marijuana) lately probably points to more car fatalities from drug abuse also.
I saw something saying that there are more deaths due to driving while drugged than driving while drunk now.
  #36  
Old 12-11-2018, 01:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Dinsdale View Post
...Moreover, the table shows an INCREASE over the most recent 3 years, and no apparent consistent reduction since 09. What's up with that? My personal thought is that at least some of the safety alerts and buzzers are a distraction, and may cause drivers to pay less attention, figuring the car is looking out for them....
This is not well understood, but is probably mostly due to cell phone use.

Poke around the site of the insurance institute of highway safety web site. They have studied all sorts of specific features, drilling down to VIN data so they can compare the same vehicle with and without various features. Most of the newer crash avoidance systems do, in fact, reduce the number of incidents (although they sometimes increase the average cost, since they feature expensive sensors on the perimeter of the car) with the notable exception of the lane departure warning, which might actually increase the number of fender-benders. (Probably because it startles drivers.) But vehicle stability control, automatic braking, blind-spot warnings, and many other newer features appear to be winners.
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Old 12-11-2018, 02:36 PM
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I chose to look at the deaths per miles driven, since there has been some discussion that safer cars lead to more driving and thus an increase in the accident and death rate, relative to what it would have been if there were constant miles per person. (Not an increase in absolute terms, of course.)
I haven't plotted those numbers, but I wouldn't be surprised if they looked the same. The improvements from air bags, for instance, only involve those who would have been killed even if they were using seat belts.
I graphed that too, but the problem was that the differences were pretty small- it looked mostly like an exponential decrease, in that it started really high early on (lots of deaths, not many miles driven), and tapered/leveled out fairly fast.

Doing it by population let the differences show more prominently. For example, you can see a precipitous drop between 1972 and 1973 (seat belts?), another between 1979-1982 (?), a third in 1987-1991(mandatory seat belt laws?), a fourth in 2004-2010 (?).

More interestingly, there's a huge rise between 1960 and 1965.
  #38  
Old 12-11-2018, 02:44 PM
DrDeth DrDeth is offline
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Originally Posted by Voyager View Post
I'm surprised no one posted this yet, but here is automobile death rates over time.
Fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles traveled fell from 1.64 in 1997 to 1.16 in 2018. And this fall was from a low number - it was 5.19 in 1968 when I began to drive and from 7.19 in 1951 when I was born.
.
And it would have fallen even more except more accidents due to distracted driving.
  #39  
Old 12-11-2018, 02:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Voyager View Post
I remember that when heavy vans and SUVs were introduced, drivers in them were safer but drivers in the cars they hit were less safe. Might be true for pickup trucks also. But see above for the real reason for the increase.
That wasn't really true. Altho it was true for a head on collision, those big SUV got into more fatal accidents as they had a tendency to roll over.

So, overall they were less safe than a family sedan.
  #40  
Old 12-11-2018, 02:51 PM
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I think it is the difference between night and day.

Cars these days have the airbags and even lane control and backup cameras.

No comparison!

Of course, it is still the idiot behind the wheel (not you of course) that is the biggest safety hazard.
  #41  
Old 12-11-2018, 02:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kropotkin View Post
Using the dubious hypothesis that 2 WAGs will equal knowledge, if as I think I heard, pickup trucks are less safe than cars, and if, as I think I heard, pickup truck sales are increasing, does this shed any light on the slower rate of safety of late?
Check out the link of death rates in various specific models by IIHS above. It doesn't appear pickups are less safe than cars, though each category spans a fairly wide and often overlapping range among particular models.

The most obvious factors are size and luxury. In 'mini 4 dr car' category all are in a range of 80-100 deaths per million vehicle years throwing out one low outlier. In large 4 door cars it's more spread out 18-45 throwing out one high outlier. In large pickups 17-70, 17-55 throwing out one high outlier, 17-39 lowest 14 out of 16 models. Large luxury cars 0-20, large luxury SUV's only three models but highest is 9. The overall average is 30. Again the lower rates on luxury cars are presumably partly the clientele not only the vehicles, and that's probably somewhat of a factor in large v small. There just doesn't seem to be a systematic difference by type as in sedan, SUV, pickup.

As was mentioned though, larger vehicles being part of the cause of higher death rates in smaller vehicles can't be excluded. From a personal vehicle buying perspective that isn't so relevant though. This is where it sometimes gets contentious I know in some internet debates I've seen, but I want to make sure all family members are driving vehicles that weigh at least 3500#'s or so.

Last edited by Corry El; 12-11-2018 at 02:57 PM.
  #42  
Old 12-11-2018, 02:57 PM
KneadToKnow KneadToKnow is offline
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Speaking as someone who drives a '98 Corolla every day,
  #43  
Old 12-11-2018, 03:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dinsdale View Post
Interesting stats, Voyager. I admit my preconception was along the lines of this:




Moreover, the table shows an INCREASE over the most recent 3 years, and no apparent consistent reduction since 09. What's up with that? My personal thought is that at least some of the safety alerts and buzzers are a distraction, and may cause drivers to pay less attention, figuring the car is looking out for them.
I suspect the answer there is distracted driving. The iPhone came out in 07 and smartphone ownership has skyrocketed since then. More kids are getting cell phones as well leading to built in distractions for people who weren't great at paying attention to the road in the first place.
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Old 12-11-2018, 03:18 PM
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The truth is in almost every measurable way modern cars are better then older cars. Performance wise supercars of the 80s match normal cars today. Safety wise the cars are better built to higher standards with far more time and engineering put into making them safe. Economy wise the cars are more fuel efficient, use less materials and last far longer without regular maintenance. I can't think of a single way that old cars are better then new cars.
  #45  
Old 12-11-2018, 03:33 PM
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Originally Posted by jz78817 View Post
you think you can decide that for your passengers too?
a) almost never have one and when I do its by their choice; just not that much into kidnapping as a recreational pastime
b) if I do its my wife and she knows and accepts the risks just like when she climbs on the back of the Road Kow

Any other problems in the universe I can solve while I'm at it?


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Originally Posted by Telemark View Post
The problem is that your time is up much sooner in an old car. Some pretty catastrophic looking accidents are survivable in a modern car.
But again, its a choice much like preferring a motorcycle; which I do as well. Heck I could avoid the whole issue and never leave the house and in certain conditions I will pick that. But considering the total number of miles I have in 1972 and earlier cars combined with the number of miles in newer (and really new) cars without a catastrophic accident I feel OK about it all.
  #46  
Old 12-11-2018, 04:59 PM
Wesley Clark Wesley Clark is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dinsdale View Post
Of course, I recognize that today's cars are safer than cars from the 50s-60s - and even into the 70s-80s. My question concerns HOW MUCH safer. The OP asked about cars 20 yrs ago.

Even if we use your 59 as the starting point, we see these fatalities for each 10 year period:
59 5.17
69 5.04
79 3.34
89 2.17
99 1.55
09 1.15
17 1.16

The biggest drop was from 69-79, the time at which lap/shoulder belts and collapsible columns became standard, and the second highest between 79-89, when belt usage became mandated. I imagine there were likely other advances during those same periods - likely in crumple zones and airbags, improved brakes, and other areas.

Where on that list do you perceive the reduction in fatalities related to improved crumple zones and airbags? I'm not arguing, I'm merely asking when you think those improvements occurred - and then interested in seeing if a reduction in fatalities corresponded.

WRT the OP's question re: the past 20 yrs, from 09 to 17 the reduction is .4 - much lower than any other 20 yr period. So yeah, the changes over the last 20 yrs HAVE helped, but not all that much.
As others mentioned, I wouldn't be surprised if smart phones drove up accident rates in the last decade, negating some of the safety benefits.

Also the average car is ten years old, so a car accident in 2018 probably involves a 2008 car. Due to that I'd assume the safety and death statistics lag by a decade or more. If I buy a brand new 2018 car with tons of safety features that didn't exist in 2008 and then I go out and get in an accident, the other car I hit will probably be closer to an 08 than an 18 model. It seems like improvements from 89 to 99 fatality rates show that the 1989 cars are an improvement over the 1979 cars. So we won't know how well 2018 safety features work in general until 2030 or so.
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Last edited by Wesley Clark; 12-11-2018 at 05:02 PM.
  #47  
Old 12-11-2018, 06:41 PM
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Seriously, for more up-to-date stats, check out the insurance institute for highway safety, and its sister organization, the highway loss data institute. Here is the kind of work they do:

Subaru Eyesight decreases pedestrian hits by ~35% compared to comparable Subaru's without that feature:
file:///C:/Users/N0069556/Downloads/hldi_bulletin_34.39.pdf
Quote:
This analysis found that Subaru vehicles equipped with EyeSight reduced pedestrian-related claim frequency by 35 percent compared to Subaru vehicles without EyeSight. When the vehicle series are modeled individually, all the series show reductions ranging from 18 to 57 percent, although only the Legacy and Outback are statistically significant.
General Motors collision avoidance features reduce frequency of claims
file:///C:/Users/N0069556/Downloads/hldi_bulletin_34.06.pdf
they found reductions in claim frequency for vehicles equipped with several GM safety packages, including
Quote:
Forward Alerts Package
Forward Alerts/Automatic Braking Package
Side Alerts Package
HID Headlights
Steerable HID Headlights
IntelliBeam Headlights
Early results for Honda Collision Avoidance Features are promising
file:///C:/Users/N0069556/Downloads/hldi_bulletin_31.2.pdf
Quote:
This analysis examines insurance loss results for two Honda Accord collision avoidance systems: Forward Collision Warning (FCW) paired with a Lane Departure Warning (LDW) system and LaneWatch, a passenger side blind spot information system. The combined FCW/LDW system is associated with reductions in claim frequency for all 5 coverage types examined...Only [some of these] were statistically significant...
LaneWatch also shows reductions in physical damage claim frequencies, but the declines are not significant. There currently are not enough data to produce stable estimates for LaneWatch’s effect on injury claim frequencies, but two of the three injury coverages indicate reductions. This represents the first HLDI evaluation of the effectiveness of crash avoidance systems on high-volume non-luxury vehicles.

Last edited by puzzlegal; 12-11-2018 at 06:41 PM.
  #48  
Old 12-11-2018, 06:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by puzzlegal View Post
Seriously, for more up-to-date stats, check out the insurance institute for highway safety, and its sister organization, the highway loss data institute. Here is the kind of work they do:

Subaru Eyesight decreases pedestrian hits by ~35% compared to comparable Subaru's without that feature:
file:///C:/Users/N0069556/Downloads/hldi_bulletin_34.39.pdf


General Motors collision avoidance features reduce frequency of claims
file:///C:/Users/N0069556/Downloads/hldi_bulletin_34.06.pdf
they found reductions in claim frequency for vehicles equipped with several GM safety packages, including


Early results for Honda Collision Avoidance Features are promising
file:///C:/Users/N0069556/Downloads/hldi_bulletin_31.2.pdf

Why are you citing your C drive?
  #49  
Old 12-11-2018, 07:48 PM
Tom Tildrum Tom Tildrum is offline
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There's no empirical evidence linking phone use to increased accidents. Cell phone and texting bans do not produce any decline in crashes. Obviously, there are any number of accidents or deaths associated with phone-related distraction, but overall, the IIHS speculates that cell phone use simply replaces other distractions. Interestingly, the article at my second link mentions that while dialing the phone is associated with a slightly higher risk of bad events, talking on a cell phone is associated with a slightly lower risk. Neither effect was statistically significant, though.
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Old 12-11-2018, 08:14 PM
DrDeth DrDeth is offline
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Originally Posted by Tom Tildrum View Post
There's no empirical evidence linking phone use to increased accidents. Cell phone and texting .... do not produce any decline in crashes. ...
That's not quite true.


https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4001674/
However, it is not clear at this point that laws limiting driversí cellphone use are having the same beneficial effects. A review of the research on the effects of driver cellphone and texting bans found mixed results. As discussed throughout the review, there is considerable unsettled evidence with regard to the patterns of driversí phone use or the effects of use on crash risk. Without this information, it is difficult to develop reasonable hypotheses about the expected effects of cellphone bans on crashes, or to choose appropriate crash outcome measures. Evaluations of cellphone and texting bans also must grapple with substantial methodological and data-related challenges that many of the reviewed studies were unable to overcome.

One of the strongest studies found no reductions in collision claim rates associated with all-driver hand-held bans in four states [Trempel et al., 2011], despite evidence of reduced hand-held cellphone use in three of the states [McCartt et al., 2010]. A study of texting bans using an analogous approach found modest but significant increases in collision claim rates in three states and no change in a fourth state [HLDI, 2010]. Other studies that appeared to have important limitations found reductions from bans [e.g., Abouk, Adams, 2013; Kolko, 2009; Nikolaev et al., 2010]. The findings of studies without appropriate crash measures and controls cannot be relied on.

Thus, even as states increasingly are enacting laws limiting driversí phone use, it is unclear the laws will have the desired effect on crashes.



So studies are mixed, but mostly, show some reduction.

However, and this is very important, the studies compare how effective Laws are that ban Cell Phones and texting.

Here is CA, we do have such laws, but they are flouted constantly. So, I guess you can say that such laws have a mixed and minor effect on reducing accidents.
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