How The U.S. Government Built, Then Killed The Safest Car Ever Built. Thirty-five years ago, the U.S. government built a fleet of cars that were safer than anything on the road. Twenty-five years ago, the government shredded them in secret.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety recently had their 50th anniversary, and to taut the progress of car safety design, they've set a 1959 Chevrolet Bel Air versus a 2009 Chevrolet Malibu, and shared the crash test videos on YouTube. [more inside]
"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!!
The use of a mobile phone up to 10 minutes before a crash is associated with a fourfold increased likelihood of crashing according to a forthcoming article in the British Medical Journal. There is no safety advantage in 'hands-free' devices. The authors interviewed 456 drivers in hospital ERs in Perth, and then accessed, with consent, their phone records. The authors had wanted to carry out the study in the United States, but the phone companies would not release customer billing records, even with a customer's consent. [Article pdf free for the next few days, but BMJ will charge for it after next week I think.]
At Ford, Why Wasn't Safety Job One? "Like other car companies, Ford has consistently fought mandatory increases in fuel economy....by invoking fears that higher mileage requirements would result in smaller, more dangerous vehicles. Safety has been used to beat back fuel efficiency regulations. But Ford's own internal documents and a series of recent court cases reveal a company that is shockingly indifferent to safety risks in the very class of gas-guzzling vehicles it most wants to shield from increases in fuel economy standards...All of this leads us to wonder, if Ford is willing to produce a product it knows will injure and perhaps kill a certain percentage of customers simply to maintain profit margins, does the company really have driver safety at heart when its lobbyists aggressively fight easily-achievable standards for higher corporate average fuel economy?" A new review of internal car manufacturer documents, and more questions about corporate ethics.
Right before you hit you were doing... Looks like we're all getting black boxes in our cars. As a high speed crash survivor I have to admit a certain curiosity as to the forces involved my accident happened. But I'm not sure I want to know this badly...