For years, occupants of smaller cars involved in traffic accidents with SUVs and pickup trucks have been at a much higher risk of suffering fatal injuries. Fortunately, the situation is improving. While occupants of smaller cars are still at risk of suffering fatal injuries when they are involved in traffic accidents with SUVs, those risks have declined sharply.
According to a study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, these accidents are now much less likely to result in fatal injuries to occupants of smaller cars and minivans. Sports utility vehicles were involved in accidents that resulted in car and minivan occupant deaths at a rate of 44 deaths per million registered vehicle years in 2000-2001, and those rates dropped to only 16 in 2008-2009. In fact, that rate was actually slightly lower than traffic accidents involving cars and minivans with similar vehicles.
In other words, the risk to occupants of passenger cars and minivans in accidents are not that much greater if the other car involved is an SUV and pickup truck, than if the other car involved is a car or minivan.
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, one of the reasons for the reduced number of fatalities in SUV accidents is the fact that passenger cars and minivans now include greater safety features, like side airbags and stronger crash-proof structures. Los Angeles car accident lawyers believe that the bigger factor is better bumper height design between larger and smaller vehicles. These designs come as part of a collaborative effort between the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and some of the biggest automakers in the world. Better bumper height alignment has taken away much of the risk to smaller car occupants in these accidents, making these crashes more survivable.