Jones & Swanson

Minicars Disappoint in Safety Test

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety assesses vehicles in a variety of crash tests to determine their safety ratings. These ratings not only provide insight for buyers to the safest vehicles on Georgia roadways, but can also serve as a warning in regards to the most unsafe vehicles to buy. We’ve previously blogged about crash ratings and how to understand them properly, as well as provided results of crash safety tests for SUVs and other passenger vehicles.

Unfortunately, in a recent overlap front crash safety test of minicars, the only vehicle to gain a satisfactory evaluation was the Chevrolet Spark. Out of 11 small cars, the Spark was the only one to pass, and only did so with an “Acceptable” rating. None of the vehicles earned the “Good” rating, which is the highest. The Spark received a Top Safety Pick award for 2014 as a result of this performance, which reproduces a crash involving the front corner of the car colliding with another object or vehicle. The speed that the vehicles are traveling when they strike a barrier is 40 MPH. The worst performances came from the Honda Fit and Fiat 500 vehicles. Not only did many of the vehicles earn low rankings for construction, but they also ranked low in restraint safety and kinematics.

This frontal overlap crash test provides evidence that the structure of mini vehicles is oftentimes underwhelming. When the structure of an automobile yields easily in a crash, the occupants are at a safety risk. The reason for the poor performance could be due to the difficulties associated with the test. Compared to a head-on crash test, the overlap assessment bypasses the mini cars’ front-end crush zone. Fortunately, manufacturers have corrected the issue in many other size categories so corrections in the minicar class may come soon. Although the Spark passed the crash test, it is still not comparable to the safety ratings from other weight classes. At 2,500 pounds, it simply cannot hold up to damages the same as a larger, heavier automobile.

So what should you look for when shopping for a new vehicle? While price is always an important aspect to one’s car search, safety ratings should also be an important aspect. Typically, safety crash rating scores can be found easily for a vehicle prior to purchasing it. At Jones & Swanson, our key practice area is the representation of injured victims of automobile crashes. For this reason, we are well-educated on the safety features and aspects of vehicles and understand what to look for in a new vehicle. For more information or advice, contact Jones & Swanson today.

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