Many of the new cars, pickup trucks and SUVs on sale in Texas and around the country are packed with innovative passive and active safety features, but figures from the Highway Loss Data Institute suggest that the size and weight of a vehicle may be more important than the number of airbags it contains. The nonprofit group collects and analyses traffic accident statistics to help insurance companies manage risk and set premiums, and its study of 2014, 2015 and 2016 vehicles reveals that safety increases along with vehicle size.
All new vehicles in the United States must meet minimum safety standards and pass federal crash tests, but the data suggests that some offer their occupants far more protection in a crash than others. HLDI researchers studied insurance claim data to give each car, pickup truck or SUV a safety score based on the number and size of insurance claims filed by injured road users. More claims and larger claims resulted in higher scores. The baseline for the automotive industry as a whole was set at 100.
Micro four-door sedans earned a score of 215 and emerged as the nation's most dangerous vehicles. Minicars fared only slightly better with a score of 174. However, the researchers were quick to point out that these inexpensive vehicles are popular among young and inexperienced drivers. Larger vehicles generally fared better in the HLDI study. Large SUV's were awarded a score of 55 and large pickup trucks were found to be the safest vehicles of all.
While bigger vehicles may be safer to travel in, they can cause catastrophic injuries to other road users when they crash. When motor vehicle accidents are caused by negligent actions, experienced personal injury attorneys may seek compensation for injured road users by filing lawsuits against the reckless motorists involved or their insurance providers.