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cars and trucks incompatible. also, airplane crash tests, whee!
January 19, 2006 9:20 PM   Subscribe

"We tacitly agree to accept a certain level of carnage in order to use the highways in ways we value." [pdf, 750kB] Three particle physicists analyze data from crash tests and crash statistics, and show that pickup trucks pose a much greater risk to other drivers than any other type of vehicle, even SUVs. [pdf, 880kB] Also, I found some totally rad videos of airplane crash tests from nasa. Sweet!!
posted by sergeant sandwich (23 comments total)

 
The airplane crash footage is a dupe. It was used in this really awesome video editing contest, linked to from here. Can't find it now.

The pickup article is fantastic.
posted by phrontist at 9:29 PM on January 19, 2006


yah, i know the airplane videos have been around forever. i just happened to find them while looking for that page with the car crash test videos, and thought it'd be cool to link there. because, ya know, massive slow-motion fireballs of destructification are always pretty cool to look at, even if you've seen 'em before.
posted by sergeant sandwich at 9:37 PM on January 19, 2006


You're attacking freedom!!!
posted by wilful at 9:44 PM on January 19, 2006


What's perverse: the drivers of the more dangerous vehicles get tax breaks for it.
posted by grobstein at 9:46 PM on January 19, 2006


Nice post.
I wonder if anyone's done an analysis of how many accidents we should be having, optimally. (The number "zero" means people are driving too conservatively, with the cumulatively wasted time likely being more than a saved person's entire lifetime.)
posted by Aknaton at 9:53 PM on January 19, 2006


Here's that airplane crash footage contest.
posted by armage at 9:56 PM on January 19, 2006 [1 favorite]


Pick-ups have as poor gas milage as SUV's -- but the 20-40 set drive pickups so its not cool to bash pickups. Parents SUVs are fair game.
posted by stbalbach at 10:33 PM on January 19, 2006


Intresting theory about accident rates, Aknation. Currently administrators place a cash value on lives, so if one life/year is worth $50k, then for example if a $50,000 traffic light would save one life per year, they do it, otherwise they won't.
posted by delmoi at 10:36 PM on January 19, 2006


Pick-ups have as poor gas milage as SUV's -- but the 20-40 set drive pickups so its not cool to bash pickups. Parents SUVs are fair game.

Huh?!

Why do you think the 20-40 set don't drive pickups?
posted by delmoi at 10:37 PM on January 19, 2006


Which do you think you'd be safer in if you hit a wall at 40 mph? A Mini Cooper or a Ford F150?
posted by marvin at 10:47 PM on January 19, 2006


I wonder if anyone's done an analysis of how many accidents we should be having, optimally. (The number "zero" means people are driving too conservatively, with the cumulatively wasted time likely being more than a saved person's entire lifetime.)

I heard a similar argument a long time ago and I pondered it and I think that (A) it's an unethical trade to compare a group's voluntarily used time for an individual's involuntarily taken life, and (B) If time spent driving is 100% wasted time where one would be as well off or better off dead, then people should be using mass transit and bettering themselves along the journey with a good book.
posted by Skwirl at 12:20 AM on January 20, 2006


pickup trucks disgust me. especially the duallies driven by all the assholes at work. (finite number of parking spaces, they take up three. thanks, guys!)
posted by wakko at 12:22 AM on January 20, 2006


Eh, I have a pickup, but I use my motorcycle more often. You really don't want to be in an accident in either (as seen in Marvin's link), as trucks don't have to conform to the same safety standards passenger cars do.

I use my pickup when:
a) it's snowing
b) I'm towing
c) one of the motorcycles is broked and needs to go to the shop
d) I'm moving furniture/going to a 25¢ book sale.

If it was up to me, I'd use the motorcycle 100% of the time. I even took my motorcycle on the 350 mile trip from here to Boston in that torrential downpour we had last October. And I was soaked not to the skin, but to the bone. But hey, environment.

So if anything is incompatible, it's motorcycles and cars (because hey, fuck bicycles—especially recumbents). But they're not incompatible, unless you try to interface them directly. Everyone needs to share the road, and

posted by Eideteker at 2:06 AM on January 20, 2006


Why do you think the 20-40 set don't drive pickups?

Isn't that the opposite of what he said?
posted by biffa at 3:37 AM on January 20, 2006


~40,000 dead Americans each year. They breed faster than that. No worries.
posted by srboisvert at 4:08 AM on January 20, 2006


Here's Malcolm Gladwell's article on the very poor safety of SUVs.

(I love the airplane footage.)
posted by OmieWise at 5:43 AM on January 20, 2006


Actual statement by my dad: The military casualties in Iraq are inconsequential, because those soldiers would have been just as likely to have died on our highways over an equivalent period of time.
posted by LordSludge at 7:33 AM on January 20, 2006


to follow up on marvin's link:

I'm interested in how a company could create a modern vehicle that could perform so badly on this test. Furthermore Ford had lots of space to work with to make this a safe vehicle. For BMW/MINI to do the job in 1/4 the space is what engineering is all about.

The reason has to do with the regulatory structure for both pickups and SUVs. Trucks and cargo vans are frequently given a break in terms of regulation because they are often used as commercial utility vehicles. SUVs for historic reasons fall into the same category. (And in many cases are the same vehicle.)

stbalbach: Pick-ups have as poor gas milage as SUV's -- but the 20-40 set drive pickups so its not cool to bash pickups. Parents SUVs are fair game.

Much of the SUV criticism has come because of their explosive market growth and deceptive marketing by their manufacturers. The F150 isn't marketed as a safe vehicle for transporting your family on the mean streets of suburbia. And yet, you take the same truck, replace the bed with a bench seat and hatchback, and add an optional DVD player, and you've created the illusion of a safe family vehicle.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 8:03 AM on January 20, 2006


I use my pickup when:
a) it's snowing
b) I'm towing
c) one of the motorcycles is broked and needs to go to the shop


Harley rider, eh?
posted by nofundy at 9:29 AM on January 20, 2006


nofundy for the score! :-)
posted by five fresh fish at 10:24 AM on January 20, 2006


Well, for the record, I've only done that once, so no. Though I, too, pity those Hardly Dangerous sonsabitches.
posted by Eideteker at 1:53 PM on January 20, 2006


Continuing off topic, how 'bout those two-headlight bikes that in nighttime mimic a faraway car? What goes through the minds of their owners? (when deciding to buy, not during the crash)
posted by niloticus at 2:11 PM on January 20, 2006


Yah, not a bright idea, that. OTOH, cagers don't deal very well with single headlights either.
posted by five fresh fish at 6:01 PM on January 20, 2006


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