If a New Car Can Demolish an Old One, How Is a Human Expected to Fare?

To mark its 50th anniversary, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety recently pitted a 1959 Chevrolet Bel Air against its contemporary counterpart, a 2009 Malibu, in a 40 mph crash test. As you can see in the video, the Malibu destroys its predecessor.

The results were intended to demonstrate how much safer cars are now than a half-decade ago, but my first thought was that the new vehicle is the same make and model that NYPD Detective Kevin Spellman drove into Drana Nikac at an estimated 30 mph — a speed that carries a pedestrian fatality rate of up to 45 percent.

So while modern-day engineering may be better at protecting drivers and passengers, the auto industry and the IIHS — whose "bigger is better" philosophy ignores those outside of vehicles — have a long, long way to go before they can crow too loudly about overall safety.

  • JJM 63

    Well, some care, at least. Crumple zones can be designed to work both ways. Honda developed a pedestrian crash dummy a decade ago, and the hood on the Accord is designed to pop up a few inches of crumple zone between a pedestrian and the unyielding engine block.

    http://world.honda.com/safety/real-world/

  • zach

    Go Honda. Even National Geographic profiled Honda for being so innovative. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YdjN7dIXRXo Okay, now how about some national standards?

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

Gridlock Sam’s Street Safety Fumble in the Daily News

|
Sam Schwartz is out with a list of street safety recommendations in the Daily News today, which he prefaces with a bizarre warning against lower citywide speed limits: Today, there’s an outcry to lower speed limits to combat pedestrian fatalities. Wouldn’t it be great if just putting up signs worked? But it probably won’t. I […]

Why Was New York State DMV Live-Tweeting the New York Auto Show?

|
First-ever CT6 Cadillac. The brand will leverage its NYC base to market this prestige class auto to some 50 countries pic.twitter.com/IhKOKvX1l6 — NYS DMV (@nysdmv) April 1, 2015 The New York State Department of Motor Vehicles was live-tweeting the New York International Auto Show yesterday. Why would staffers at the government agency charged with regulating motor vehicles and their […]
STREETSBLOG USA

3 Graphs That Explain Why 20 MPH Should Be the Limit on City Streets

|
Speed kills, especially on city streets teeming with pedestrians and cyclists. The investigative news nonprofit ProPublica has produced an interactive graph that deftly conveys how just a few miles per hour can spell the difference between life and death when a person is struck by a motorist. ProPublica’s Lena Groeger used data from the AAA Safety Foundation to chart the plummeting […]