NHTSA study highlights the benefits of safety systems

New York residents who drive older vehicles may be wise to consider trading them in for something more modern according to a 2013 research paper from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. While properly maintained older cars can provide years of faithful service, they offer far less protection in a collision according to NHTSA researchers who studied fatal crash statistics gathered by the Fatality Analysis Reporting System between 2005 and 2011.

The researchers discovered that the likelihood of a driver being killed in a car accident increases according to the age of the vehicle involved. Drivers of cars 18 or more years old lost their lives 71 percent more often that motorists behind the wheel of cars manufactured during the past few years, and the newer the car, the greater the likelihood of survival. The chances of being killed in a crash in a 10-year-old car are 19 percent higher according to the NHTSA data, but this figure drops to 10 percent when the vehicles involved in an accident are between four and seven years old.

The NHTSA researchers understood that simply looking at the age of the vehicles involved in an accident may not paint a complete picture, and they realized that many of the older cars on the nation's roads have inexperienced teen drivers behind the wheel. To allow for these factors, NHTSA adjusted its crash data to account for variables including driver age, intoxication, speed and time of day.

In addition to an array of sophisticated passive and active safety features, many modern vehicles are equipped with black box type devices. The information stored on these devices can provide accident investigators with a better understanding of what transpired prior to a collision, and it can also be used by experienced personal injury attorneys to establish negligence in civil lawsuits filed on behalf of car accident victims.

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