As much time as we spend in our cars in cities like Atlanta, Georgia, auto accidents are going to continue to be an unfortunate fact of life. It comes as no suprise that in every leading consumer survey safety is always among the top concerns with American consumers. As a Georgia Personal Injury and Product Liability Lawyer, I’m always interested in the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s annual report.
Now available are the Institute’s Top Safety Picks for 2010. The institute’s findings rate vehicles good, acceptable, marginal, and poor based on performance in high-speed front and side crash tests, a rollover test, plus evaluations of seat/head restraints for protection against neck injuries in rear impacts to determine the vehicles overall crashworthiness. Compared to prior years, far fewer vehicles received safety awards this year. Several manufacturers had cars fail the overall crash test in this year’s review. Of particular concern, many of the vehicles tested rated poor in the roof strength rating.
The roof strength test is a new criteria IIHS is using for 2010. When vehicles built with weak roofs roll over, death and paralyzation are common occurances. Product liability litigation has brought to light the catastrophic injuries and deaths caused by defectively weak roof designs. With experts estimating costs as low as $50-$150 per vehicle to build significantly safer roofs, it is encouraging to see the leading safety studies including roof strength tests in their overall analysis.