Battle of the Car Accidents: New vs Old
It’s not secret that new cars now have a variety of features, but do those features really make those cars better than older cars? After all, many older cars were built with solid metal frames and seem like they could hold up well in an accident against these newer plastic cars. Right? Let’s see what the data says. Here are 4 factors to compare how old cars measure up to new cars. Which will come out the victor?
Drivers Fatality Rate
Imagine if an older car and a new car were to crash into each other. If only one driver died, which driver do you think it would be? According to government studies, the driver of the older car is 70% more likely to die. The research, conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, indicated that one is safer in a new car than they are in a car built in an older model, particularly one from before the mid-90’s. The research shows that the driver of a car 18 years or more old dies in an accident 71% more times than one in a three-year-old or newer vehicle.
That’s some pretty sobering statistics, particularly for parents who might want to put their teenage driver in a cheap clunker of a car. While your child may only need it to get from home to work and school, you want them to arrive safely, and buying a car older than they are won’t do it, even if you paid pennies for it.
What about middle-aged cars though? That same study by the NHTSA found that the driver fatality rate of cars eight to eleven years old is only 19% worse than brand new cars, and four to seven year old cars have a 10% worse driver fatality rate than new.
Conclusion: Models less than 11 years old have a significantly lower fatality rate than older models.
So driving new cars is safer than driving older cars, but if you fail to buckle up, none of those safety features matter. The study by the NHTSA found that the odds of a belted driver being killed fell from 46% in cars that were 19 years old to 26% in new cars. However, in unbelted drivers, the odds started at 78% in old cars and dropped to only 72% percent in new cars. Consequently, whether or not you’re driving a new car, wearing your seatbelt raises your chances of survival by a large margin.
Conclusion: Wearing seatbelts in new cars is safer than older models.
While one might think that older cars are made of stronger metals, that’s not actually true. New models are made with lighter but stronger alloys, thanks to engineering feats. This means that new models aren’t as weak as you might think. In fact, one Australian study found that old cars sustain catastrophic structural failure in fatal accidents. The old cars in the study are also associated with severe leg, chest, and head injury to the driver. This is partly due to older models not having safety features like airbags, which are mandatory in new cars.
In Australia, old cars account for only 20% of the cars in the road, yet they cause 33% of the accidents. In the US, the average age of cars is older – around 11.5 years old.
Conclusion: New cars are stronger and more structurally-sound.
Winner: New Cars
New cars have a lower fatality rate and more safety features, and they are built better than most older models of cars. Many bad accidents involving old cars lead to fatalities for the drivers or passengers in the older car. According to Stewart Guss, no matter how careful of a driver you are, sooner or later, you’ll get into a car accident. Always wear your seatbelt, regardless of the age of the car. Seatbelts save lives and they can save yours.