New Overlap Front Crash Testing Shows Range of Safety Issues with Small Cars

In a recent series of overlap front crash tests involving small vehicles, the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS) reported that of the 12 cars studied, only the Mini Cooper Countryman earned a good rating.

The small overlap test, which was introduced in 2012, mimics what happens when the corner of a vehicle collides with another vehicle or stationary object, i.e.; a telephone pole or tree. Since beginning this series of safety testing, the IIHS has observed 32 small cars; the results are staggering. According to the IIHS’s report, only 19 of these small cars earned a good or acceptable rating for their front safety protection, while the remaining 13 earned a rating of marginal or poor.

During the test, 25% of the vehicle’s front end on the driver’s side strikes a rigid barrier while traveling at 40 mph, according to the IIHS’s website. Unlike head-on crash tests, the small overlap test focuses on the bypassing of the vehicles’ front-end crush zone-to test how well the structure can manage crash energy. Often, the occupant compartment collapses during these types of crashes.

By IIHS’s standards, for a vehicle to earn the top rating of good, automakers need to focus on overall crash protection; meaning that an occupant compartment resists intrusion, safety belts prevent a driver from pitching too far forward and side curtain airbags provide enough forward coverage to cushion a head at risk of hitting the dashboard or window frame or things outside the vehicle. Collapsing structures can knock front airbags and seats out of position, exacerbating the problem, the IIHS reports.

In this particular study, only 5 small cars (all 2014 models) were awarded an acceptable rating; two earned marginal; and four earned a poor rating. For a comprehensive list of ratings please click here.

Automakers have a responsibility of ensuring that their cars are mechanically safe and do not pose a threat to drivers. When car makers fail at meeting safety standards, they are liable if and when an individual is injured because of this negligence. A person who is injured as a result of a faulty or unsafe product may be entitled to filing a products liability claim or lawsuit against the liable parties.

At Altman & Altman LLP, our seasoned Products Liability Attorneys have nearly 50 years of knowledge and experience handling all types of defective products and products liability cases, and we have the skills to fight against large consumer products companies so that our clients achieve the highest financial compensation for their injuries. If you or a loved one was a victim of the GM recalled ignition switch, or if you were injured as the result of a faulty product, call our office today to speak to an attorney to discuss your legal options and whether you might qualify for a products liability claim. All initial consultations are completely free of charge and of no obligation to you. All consultations are completely confidential and our team of lawyers is available around the clock to answer any and all questions you may have about your case.

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