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Sunday, February 16, 2020

Are Newer Safety Features Better at Protecting Drivers?

Every year automobiles become more technology advanced. We would logically think that the more advanced the technology the safer the vehicle. Not so so, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

Instead the IIHS discovered that the latest generation of frontal airbags do not protect belted drivers as well as your predecessors. Surprisingly they found that belted drivers fare better in vehicles that do not meet the latest airbag safety standards.

The change? Newer airbags have been designed to deploy with less force. After numerous deaths and injuries to children and small adults in the 90s airbag design had to change. Now airbags deploy more slowly and often base speed on sensors judging driver and passenger size.

Summary of Findings – Newer Advanced Airbags
  • 38% lower death rate for unbelted male drivers
  • 21% higher risk of death for belted male drivers
It’s important to note that test driving speeds have increased from 30 to 35 mph. Researches were unsure if results were due to stronger deployment for higher speeds or the sensory range for ‘out-of-position’ drivers.

Find the entire study here – IIHS Research