Newer, Safer Cars Reduced Road Fatalities

More new vehicles are being made with passenger safety in mind, according to the insurance industry group, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, as reported by It has released its Top Safety Pick rating for the 2011 model year, selecting 66 vehicles to win the highest safety ranking among the 191 vehicles rated. Among the winners are 40 cars and 25 sport-utility vehicles. Only 27 vehicles made the grade at the beginning of 2010.

Among the improvements, shared by every major automaker which had one car in the top ranking, were roof strength improvements to protect passengers in a rollover accident. Newer model cars have added airbags in 92% of new models, both front and side airbags, while electronic stability control is now on nearly all 2011 cars (92%), all SUVs, and 72% of pickups.

Clarence Ditlow, of the Center for Auto Safety, attributed the safety focus on Congress and its pressure on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to set more stringent standards. NHTSA and the Transportation Department in October unveiled a crash rating system for vehicles that includes how women fare in accidents (determined by using female crash dummies), and how the cars perform in front, side, and rollover crash tests.

Surprisingly, Ford has upgraded the roof of its Flex and Lincoln MKT SUV, the Ford Fusion and mid-size SUV, and Lincoln MKZ sedans. Previously Ford has not been among the top insurance institute ratings winners. Still at the bottom for added safety features are small pickup trucks. Large pickup trucks have not yet been tested.

The Florida auto product liability lawyers at Farah & Farah have seen the devastating effects of many injuries from vehicles that fail to protect passengers and we applaud upgraded safety features that should save hundreds of lives and avert thousands of injuries from highway accidents.