NHTSA crash data show just how much safer new cars are than old cars

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NHTSA crash data show just how much safer new cars are than old cars

New cars are safer than old cars. Yeah, we know. Obviously. But the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration just released a report highlighting the added safety of newer cars and trucks over older cars and trucks, and attaching real data to an otherwise assumed theory is always a good idea.

There’s an entire PDF worth of numbers to back up the claim that driving newer is driving safer, but here are some of the most powerful data points worth seeing:

  • 55 percent: Occupants fatally injured in vehicles built prior to 1984
  • 53 percent: Occupants fatally injured in vehicles built between 1985 and 1992
  • 46 percent: Occupants fatally injured in vehicles built between 1993 and 1997
  • 42 percent: Occupants fatally injured in vehicles built between 1997 and 2002
  • 36 percent: Occupants fatally injured in vehicles built between 2002 and 2007
  • 31 percent: Occupants fatally injured in vehicles built between 2008 and 2012
  • 26 percent: Occupants fatally injured in vehicles built between 2013 and 2017

Those are statistics sure to catch anyone’s attention. They were gleaned from NHTSA’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System, and from an analysis of all passenger vehicle crashes that involved a fatality.

And the conclusion, as found by NHTSA, is this: “Using the most recent fatal crash data, this analysis supports previous research in finding that a higher proportion of the occupants of older MY vehicles suffered a fatal injury. In addition, the proportion of vehicle occupants who were fatally injured increases with the age of the vehicle.”

In a statement, NHTSA Deputy Administrator Heidi King added, “We encourage car buyers to select vehicles that meet their individual lifestyle, budget and transportation needs with the added assurance that they are making an investment in safety.”

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