Old cars are less safe

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Curb weights: 2015: 2855 lbs 1998: 2414 lbs That's nearly 20% heavier than the 1998 model, so I'm sure that's part (but only a part) of what we are seeing. The newer the car, the heavier. My Tercel is 2000 lbs and I know it's a deathtrap. My roof doesn't even make it over the height of some truck wheel wells.
 
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Originally Posted By: fdcg27
Originally Posted By: Astro14
While newer cars have the improved safety features, the ANCAP CEO James Goodwin hints at what is probably the more salient point: The older cars are being operated by the most at-risk drivers: teens and the elderly. Teen drivers crash at a much higher rate, so I would like to see the crash data normalized for driver risk. Right now, you can't extract the change in operator risk with older cars from the safety system improvements.
^^^This The primary issue in comparing the fatal or serious injury rates of any two classes of vehicles is very much dependent on their driver populations. Older cars tend either to be driven by the young, a risky group of drivers who buy old because that's what they can afford or the elderly, who often bought their old cars new but don't do very many miles, so their cars last for many years. I would imagine that the fatality rates for any two classes of vehicles would be very similar if you normalized them by other driver risk factors. Guys of my age may still drive fast but have acquired the wisdom to do so safely. When most of us were younger, we probably also drove fast. I know I did, but I had not yet acquired the level of expertise in car control as well as reading traffic and possible conflicts that one gains in hundreds of thousands of miles over a number of decades. When I was young, I was lucky. Today, I have better judgment to help. Put me in an old Corolla and I'd have very little more exposure risk than I would in a new Tesla. Avoiding accidents is the primary method of avoiding fatal or serious injuries.
I agree with most you said but there's no doubt in my mind that the newer cars are also stronger, particularly the passenger cell. Therefor i one of the young, or very old, or middle aged drunk slams into you yourchances are better in a recent car. But that wouldn't stop me from driving an old car I enjoy.
 
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Wonder how it would look if they did the same thing with a new Corolla and, say, a 1998 Grand Marquis. Or possibly a 1995 Suburban.
 
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Taking a modern Corolla and offset crashing it into an older Corolla and measuring the damage to occupants is entirely valid as an experiment, and saying that the equivalent occupant would be more damaged. Safety systems that protect against trees and side of road stuff add weight, but they also mean that if you head smack the equivalent car from decades ago, then m1v1+m2v2=(m1+m2)v3, plus conservation of energy come into play, and the modern Corolla destroys an older model...Similarly, my 5 star Colorado and a 2017 5 star Corolla are going to feed physics into the equation as well, versus 5 star Corolla into concrete block. Astro's point is also very valid...when I was in the "most likely to kill myself in a car" demographic, my cars were old, the suspension and bushes needed work (which I did), and were fatigued, and carrying rust...those cars were more dangerous than the day that they were made, and so was I.
 
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I've never owned a car less than 10 years old, I've always been in the danger zone. My 1996 Volvo would do better against the new Corolla than my wife's 2005 Nissan. Her car has only one airbag and no ABS. A lot more to it than just a date.
 
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Today's cars are also heavier than in the distant past. The 65 and 66 Mustang, for example weigh in at 2500 to 2850 pounds depending on configuration. Racers regularly get older V8 Mustangs down to 2300 pounds! Contrast that with my Honda S2000, which weighs in at at a portly 2900 pounds. Yes, I have a turbo, which added some weight. I always thought it was 2700 until I drove on to the scales... Ugh. Today's Camaro SS, tops the scales at 4000 pounds at the local drag strip. The last version of Camaro was North of 4000 pounds.
 
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Originally Posted By: Cujet
Today's cars are also heavier than in the distant past. The 65 and 66 Mustang, for example weigh in at 2500 to 2850 pounds depending on configuration. Racers regularly get older V8 Mustangs down to 2300 pounds! Contrast that with my Honda S2000, which weighs in at at a portly 2900 pounds. Yes, I have a turbo, which added some weight. I always thought it was 2700 until I drove on to the scales... Ugh. Today's Camaro SS, tops the scales at 4000 pounds at the local drag strip. The last version of Camaro was North of 4000 pounds.
It's ridiculous; even my 2er weighs over 3,500 pounds. At least the ti is relatively light- at 2,850 pounds.
 
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Originally Posted By: Cujet
Today's cars are also heavier than in the distant past. The 65 and 66 Mustang, for example weigh in at 2500 to 2850 pounds depending on configuration. Racers regularly get older V8 Mustangs down to 2300 pounds! Contrast that with my Honda S2000, which weighs in at at a portly 2900 pounds. Yes, I have a turbo, which added some weight. I always thought it was 2700 until I drove on to the scales... Ugh. Today's Camaro SS, tops the scales at 4000 pounds at the local drag strip. The last version of Camaro was North of 4000 pounds.
My MG is 2100lbs or so(maybe less with the typical British rust smile ). A Miata weighs a lot more, and as you said the S2000 is even heavier than a Miata. I use that as a comparison because it's probably the closest thing on the road(except for a Lotus) to the size and weight of an old British sports car. The MGB was somewhat advanced in having engineered front crumple zones, but it's also easy to see that new cars have a lot more "stuff" in them to keep you safe than the MG. Just as an example, the last door panel I had off a modern car probably weighed a good 30lbs. Most of the construction is dense foam, and of course the vinyl skin and all the buttons, etc. Behind the panel you usually have additional reinforcement and other "stuff"(including sound deadening) between the panel and the door skin. I replaced my "door cards" on the MG a month or so back. They're basically a piece of masonite with vinyl covering and a little bit of padding between the two. They came to me in a package that was about 2" thick, and weigh about 10lbs each. When you take them off, you basically only have the window regulator and the door latch/lock mechanism between the card and the skin. The only "extras" you have on the door card are a pull handle and a chrome(or maybe polished aluminum) decorating strip. If I get hit in that car from the side, I'm basically counting on the door sills to prevent the door from coming too far into the passenger compartment. BTW, the Miata is about the same length and height as the MG, but I think it's a good 4" or so wider. The passenger compartment itself isn't that much wider-a lot of the width comes from extra stuff to keep you safe in a side impact. My MG mechanic has a wrecked Miata sitting in his shop that he bought from a friend(mostly to rob the seats for an MG). It was a high speed front crash, and the car was about 6" shorter than when it was built. The driver walked away, and if the top had been up they'd have had to pry the door open to get him out.
 
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You have to remember that even in the '70s cars sold in the US had to pass rudimentary barrier crash tests with a belted test dummy. The problem started when the DOT began to interfere with the law of natural selection and mandated passive restraints that would protect unrestrained occupants.
 
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Originally Posted By: MCompact
You have to remember that even in the '70s cars sold in the US had to pass rudimentary barrier crash tests with a belted test dummy. The problem started when the DOT began to interfere with the law of natural selection and mandated passive restraints that would protect unrestrained occupants.
You must be with the let em crash crowd. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_516ml5ImGU&ab_channel=Kaz
 
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I'm not really sure about 'newer cars are safer' when all the ones I've seen have 16 airbags in 24 different places that all combine to *drastically* reduce visibility. Couple this to very flat windscreens, and you have the perfect recipe for disaster. My friend was saying the blindspot in the A-pillar of his Cruze is big enough to completely block all vision of his street. What if that was a country road, and you turned straight into the path of an oncoming truck? Yes, I agree (to an extent) this information is scare-mongering, and used to prop up the automotive industry. Just like we're pandered to about "newer appliances are more efficient." Well, most people wouldn't do the maths and realise a newer, more efficient appliance would likely take more than its lifespan to pay off the investment. Like I said with my example of the blindspots in newer vehicles... If vehicles inherently obstruct your vision, what's so good about all the safety features when they're more like to create the perfect conditions for an accident?
 

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Totally agree with you B320i regarding stupidly thick A-pillars on some new cars - another example is the Holden Commodore from VE onwards. Having said that, I'd much rather be in a newer car if I was unfortunate enough to be in a crash. The difference between the two Corollas in the video is pretty confronting; in the 2015, you'll walk away; in the 1998, you're leaving in a body bag. I'm not sure they show this stuff to prop up the automotive industry, more to make people aware of the advances in crash protection over the years. Given the choice, I'd prefer to crash in a 2016 Falcon, not my 2006 version. I reckon you'd be the same with your BMW versus a new one.
 
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Over here rego prices are based on crash data, older cars pay a higher price. Trouble is, they are using Aussie crash data as it is a bigger sample...but we have different cars, we have far more JDI's.
 
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Originally Posted By: hpb
Given the choice, I'd prefer to crash in a 2016 Falcon, not my 2006 version. I reckon you'd be the same with your BMW versus a new one.
Being honest with myself, that was a part of the decision to replace the Navara (3 stars with not a lot going for it) with the Colorado...yes, legroom for the kids was making them uncomfortable. With the money from the Nissan Sale last week, I'm upgrading my wife from the 1997 Caprice to something smaller, but 5 stars as well...that and 14+L/100km of premium. Something changed in my head somewhere, or maybe it's the huge number of bad drivers who come through Lithgow these days (gateway to the west from Sydney)
 
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Originally Posted By: BrocLuno
Seriously, the only cars I'm interested in building anymore are ones from that era. Air bags belong in air planes where the impact speeds mean near certain death. My sister was partially ejected by an air bag - out the passenger side window ... Still has the scaring from the glass frown
Air bags were never intended to be used without seatbelts, at least by those who were engineering the things. The "passive restraint" rubbish with respect to air bags belongs in the lap of bureaucrats and OEM beancounters who wanted to comply with "passive restraint" requirements as cheaply as possibly, and piggyback them onto air bags. Other innovative "gems" with respect to the "passive restraint" garbage included door pillar mounted seatbelts and those motorized shoulder belts. Those, too, were also much more dangerous then conventional seatbelts. The vast majority of air bag deaths occurred because the occupant was improperly restrained in the first place. They work with seatbelts, not instead of them, and neither government regulation nor OEM posturing change that. Here's another video of interest, posted here before, if I recall correctly.
There are several other similar examples shown in most collision analysis courses.
 
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Originally Posted By: hpb
Given the choice, I'd prefer to crash in a 2016 Falcon, not my 2006 version. I reckon you'd be the same with your BMW versus a new one.
I suppose you're right there, although I cannot resist the temptation to reiterate my previous statements and offer a hypothetical situation: If the newer car obstructed my vision such that I made a poor judgement and had a major accident, I'd have preferred to have been driving the older car where I probably would've seen the other vehicle. Every so often, I see regular members of car forums posted their "RIP to My ABC XYZ," where the vehicle was totaled in major incidents. I've been surprised on the posts (despite the lack of a complete story) how well some of these older vehicles have handled T-bones, head-ons and rollovers. At the same time - I'll restate that I'd rather have an accident in practically any new car versus mine.
 
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It seems like there is a mentality creeping in. A thinking that safe driving is less important with modern cars. Following too closely and someone panic stops? No problem the computer will sense it and brake for you. Screw up and t bone someone? No biggie, 3 airbags will protect you. Never mind the people in the old car you mame and kill.
 
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