Small Cars are really dangerous

Fox News has the test results here:

The tests involved head-on crashes between the fortwo and a 2009 Mercedes C Class, the Fit and a 2009 Honda Accord and the Yaris and the 2009 Toyota Camry. The tests were conducted at 40 miles per hour (17 kilometers per liter), representing a severe crash.

In the fortwo collision, the institute said the Smart, which weighs 1,808 lbs, went airborne and turned around 450 degrees after striking the C Class, which weighs nearly twice as much. There was extensive damage to the fortwo's interior and the Smart driver could have faced extensive injuries to the head and legs. There was little damage to the front seat area of the C Class.

Schembri said the test simulated a "rare and extreme scenario" and noted that the fortwo had received solid ratings from the government's crash test program. The fortwo has received top scores from the Insurance Institute in front-end and side crash tests against comparably sized vehicles, but in the front-end tests against the C Class, the institute gave the minicar poor marks.

In the Fit's test, the dummy's head struck the steering wheel through the air bag and showed a high risk of leg injuries. In the vehicle-to-vehicle test, the Fit was rated poor while the Accord's structure held up well.

Honda spokesman Todd Mittleman said the tests involved "unusual and extreme conditions" and noted that all 2009 Honda vehicles had received top scores from the Insurance Institute.

In the Yaris test, the institute said the mini car sustained damage to the door and front passenger area. The driver dummy showed signs of head injuries, a deep gash on the right knee and extensive forces to the neck and right leg.

The Yaris has received good ratings in past front and side testing but received a poor rating in the crash with the Camry. Toyota spokesman John Hanson said the car-to-car test had little relevance to consumers because of its severity. . . . . .

A head to head test doesn't seem particularly like "unusual and extreme conditions." The cars that these mini cars crashed into were not particularly large -- in fact, they are also at best average or small.

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Blogger Harry Schell said...

If I am not mistaken, the NTSA requirement is to hit a barrier at a certain speed(s) and angle(s).

My physics are a little rusty but I believe the amount of energy that must be dissipated by the auto under such a test is limited by the size of the vehicle.

When cars of different weights collide, the energy to be absorbed is determined by the weight of the vehicle you hit. Equal weights gives a similar result to the NTSA test. If your car is much lighter than the one you collide with, your car has to absorb more energy, hence the difference in damage between the light car and heavier car.

I think I am right here but comments are welcome.

4/14/2009 7:25 PM  
Blogger Angie said...

Obviously the answer is to outlaw large cars right?

/end sarc

4/14/2009 8:29 PM  
Blogger The Right Guy said...

I would also add that being larger person in small car compounds the problem. Injuries tend to be worse. Remember too, that a C class is the smaller of the Mercedes, the E and the S classes are larger. I wish they tested the smart car with an H2...

4/14/2009 8:45 PM  
Blogger nathan118 said...

Who cares if people die in one of these little cars...at least it will stop global warming.

4/15/2009 12:10 AM  
Blogger Mike Gallo said...

Small cars are deathtraps? Huh, that's bigger news than the recent study I read that concluded water quenches thirst.

4/15/2009 1:25 PM  

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