Has InformedforLife.org (vehicle safety ratings) gone too far?

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Elemental
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Has InformedforLife.org (vehicle safety ratings) gone too far?

Post by Elemental » Fri Jan 12, 2018 1:24 pm

I was introduced to informedforlife.org here in the forums. It was very helpful to me 2 years ago when I was shopping for a new vehicle, and ultimately helped me make my choice for a new car. I was sold on the value of safety over other considerations (style / pride / etc). Now, 2 years later, I'm back shopping for another vehicle to add to the fleet.

I went back to informedforlife.org this week and discovered that only a very small handful of vehicles now make the cut based on a new safety algorithm they started using in December. In short, a vehicle must now be an SUV or Minivan (or 1 heavy car on the list) to make the cut on the weight factor, and must have extra safety features like automatic emergency braking. I assume the lower trim levels that don't have those extra features are excluded.

I know there are a lot of opinions on what makes a car safe, and if the extra cost of safety equipment is worth it to insure against a very small risk of being in a very serious accident. Let me just say that due to personal experiences in my immediate family, safety is of critical importance in a new vehicle decision. That said, my budget is such that I won't be able to reach the top trim levels with extra safety, so I need to compromise somewhere.
My newest vehicle has automatic braking, and I still worry that it will decide to brake when it shouldn't and actually cause a problem. That hasn't happened yet, but the pre-brake warning has happened when I didn't think it should have.

Has Informed for Life gone too far this time? Is vehicle weight as big of a deal as they say? Thanks for reading my wall of text, and I'm looking forward to some advice.

dbr
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Re: Has Informed for Life .org (vehicle safety ratings) gone too far?

Post by dbr » Fri Jan 12, 2018 4:59 pm

If you are going to flip cars on a better than vs worse than kind of criterion then is more or less inevitable as a matter of physics that more massive cars flip to the "safer than" side and less massive cars to the "less safe than" side. Whether this means one should only buy one of the more massive cars, etc. is an entirely different question. Probably a more useful statistic would be estimates of the fatality probability per mile driven. Then it would be more possible to project that one might be talking about the average person moving the chance that their death would be due to a car accident from maybe 0.9% to 1.1% (made up numbers to point out what sort of calculation would be meaningful to a person). This sort of thing is not uncommon when one reads things like being in group x means a 50% higher chance of something bad happening than being in group y when the actual probability of that bad thing has increased from 0.0002% to 0.0003%.

It is also true that if a person is really worried about being killed in an auto accident some of the effective things one can do about it include:

1. Spend less time/mileage driving and riding in cars.
2. Don't engage in hazardous driving behavior such as drinking and driving, talking on/looking at cellphones and other electronics while driving, etc.
3. Be aware of and practice safe driving skills age appropriate.
4. Recognize that some driving environments are more dangerous per mile driven than others, two lane rural roads being the worst and interstate highways possibly the best (this can be looked up). Also recognize that some driving times of the day are more dangerous than others.

So, it sound like, yes, they might have gone too far.

Elemental
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Re: Has Informed for Life .org (vehicle safety ratings) gone too far?

Post by Elemental » Fri Jan 12, 2018 6:43 pm

dbr wrote:
Fri Jan 12, 2018 4:59 pm
...
It is also true that if a person is really worried about being killed in an auto accident some of the effective things one can do about it include:

1. Spend less time/mileage driving and riding in cars.
2. Don't engage in hazardous driving behavior such as drinking and driving, talking on/looking at cellphones and other electronics while driving, etc.
3. Be aware of and practice safe driving skills age appropriate.
4. Recognize that some driving environments are more dangerous per mile driven than others, two lane rural roads being the worst and interstate highways possibly the best (this can be looked up). Also recognize that some driving times of the day are more dangerous than others.

So, it sound like, yes, they might have gone too far.
Thanks for your reply. I've been looking at other factors like you mentioned as well. In fact, my state has some restrictions for young drivers that line up with that. My insurance company has a program to reward young drivers who follow certain other rules. I think you have some really good recommendations. I always tell my kid to turn off the radio before driving. I'm told the driver instructor had the radio on :shock:

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Re: Has Informed for Life .org (vehicle safety ratings) gone too far?

Post by ray.james » Fri Jan 12, 2018 6:55 pm

I too had the same feeling when I visited the site last week. If 2 cars are consider reduced safety while one is just because <3200 weight limit and other one is rated badly in rollover/other test; it does not make sense. Case in point is prius which now come safety sense standard, and NCAP/IIHS/NIHS rated 5* vs mazda6.

I also think the use fatality rates as percentiles has gone a little overboard when some of the cars taking about 5-10 deaths per thousands of miles driver per thousands of cars.
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Elemental
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Re: Has Informed for Life .org (vehicle safety ratings) gone too far?

Post by Elemental » Fri Jan 12, 2018 7:01 pm

The Mazda6 is a good example of a car that was on the list until the new rating system came out. It was just barely above the 3200 pound minimum though. It is now considered "Least Safe" due to weight. All the extra safety stuff is not standard and only available at the high trim level. I like that Toyota (and Honda?) are including extra safety features standard. Subaru Legacy is another car that used to be considered one of the safest. Now it weighs too little and once again the extra safety is a lot of extra money.

dbr
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Re: Has Informed for Life .org (vehicle safety ratings) gone too far?

Post by dbr » Fri Jan 12, 2018 7:12 pm

As a general guide to the dependence of overall fatality rate on vehicle mass one can estimate that the dependence is an inverse function of the weight. That is to say a 4000 lb car has half the fatality rate of a 2000 lb car and an 8000 lb car half that of a 4000 lb car, all other factors equal or averaged out. Going from 3400 lb to 3000 lb is a ratio of only 1.13 or 13% increase in fatality rate. So much for crossing the 3200 lb "red line." It is fairly evident that it makes sense to avoid 2000 lb cars in favor of 3000 lb cars, but after that the problem starts to diminish. What is a larger problem is that NHTSA testing is largely standardized to eliminate information about the effect of vehicle mass. Vehicle safety data is also standardized to eliminate the information that exposure in miles driven per year directly affects one's chances. It used to be back in the bad old days that the biggest effect a vehicle occupant could have on safety was to actually wear the seatbelt. After that, aside from exposure, was not to drive drunk, and then not to speed.

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Re: Has Informed for Life .org (vehicle safety ratings) gone too far?

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Fri Jan 12, 2018 7:23 pm

Many safety criteria could be argued whether something considered good (weight) might not be.

Cue the old Audi commercial showing 2 cars heading towards the crash wall. The other car was obviously a Volvo. The Volvo crashes into the wall, air bags deploying. The Audi swerves and avoids the wall. I'd argue that if the driver is properly trained, one could certainly argue that a better handling, lighter car could be safer.

I'd also pose this question. You're driving in your (insert your weight) car, come around a corner and an out of control dumptruck full of gravel hits you head on. You're going 50 and he's going 50. I'd submit that if you're on a bicycle or a Suburban, you're done.

Some common sense needs to be applied. Seat belts and air bags. Beyond that, the rates of increasing safety drops dramatically for other devices.
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Re: Has Informed for Life .org (vehicle safety ratings) gone too far?

Post by dbr » Fri Jan 12, 2018 7:28 pm

Jack FFR1846 wrote:
Fri Jan 12, 2018 7:23 pm
Many safety criteria could be argued whether something considered good (weight) might not be.

Cue the old Audi commercial showing 2 cars heading towards the crash wall. The other car was obviously a Volvo. The Volvo crashes into the wall, air bags deploying. The Audi swerves and avoids the wall. I'd argue that if the driver is properly trained, one could certainly argue that a better handling, lighter car could be safer.

One could also argue that it is more dangerous both to the occupants and to everyone else due to more risky driver behavior in so-called better handling cars and overestimation of abilities. I don't argue either way. Some sort of data on the subject would have to be found beyond the anecdotes of those drivers of "superior skill" driving "superior cars."

I'd also pose this question. You're driving in your (insert your weight) car, come around a corner and an out of control dumptruck full of gravel hits you head on. You're going 50 and he's going 50. I'd submit that if you're on a bicycle or a Suburban, you're done.

Yes, there is no such thing as immunizing yourself from bad outcomes on the road, short of not being there in the first place.


Some common sense needs to be applied. Seat belts and air bags. Beyond that, the rates of increasing safety drops dramatically for other devices.

But not for the device of not driving while intoxicated.

GmanJeff
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Re: Has InformedforLife.org (vehicle safety ratings) gone too far?

Post by GmanJeff » Fri Jan 12, 2018 8:28 pm

Use common sense. Weight matters, but so too do safety technologies, most especially ABS, skid control, and automated emergency braking. Some advanced technologies, like those which help you avoid sideswiping someone when changing lanes, or which help prevent low speed collisions while backing up, can help prevent property damage but may be of less consequence in preventing significant injuries to the driver or passengers.

Consider, too, the importance of driver awareness and skill. Few drivers have meaningful driving skills. Taking a high performance driving school which includes skidpad practice, emergency swerving and braking, and other street survival skills may go a long way towards improving your chances of avoiding an accident in the first place.

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Re: Has InformedforLife.org (vehicle safety ratings) gone too far?

Post by onourway » Fri Jan 12, 2018 9:21 pm

Strongly agree with the need to consider active safety in the ability of the driver and vehicle to be able to avoid accidents vs. passive safety where you always want a bigger cage. We have an SUV considered among the safest vehicles on the road. It even handles better than average for an SUV carrying that much weight. I still feel much safer in my lighter vehicles with better visibility and better handling characteristics. Of course putting a number to that is essentially impossible. Thus we get site like this that tout passive safety above all else.

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Re: Has Informed for Life .org (vehicle safety ratings) gone too far?

Post by bottlecap » Fri Jan 12, 2018 9:37 pm

Jack FFR1846 wrote:
Fri Jan 12, 2018 7:23 pm
I'd also pose this question. You're driving in your (insert your weight) car, come around a corner and an out of control dumptruck full of gravel hits you head on. You're going 50 and he's going 50. I'd submit that if you're on a bicycle or a Suburban, you're done.
But if you’re on the bike, you’re done even if it’s a Prius. And there’s a lot more Prius’s on the road than dump trucks.

It’s sort of a catch 22. To some extent it doesn’t make sense to not consider weight in safety ratings, but it doesn’t make sense for everyone to buy, desire, and drive large vehicles. How do they choose if weight is a major factor in the ratings?

I think I would stick to the crash ratings with a healthy dose of realism about whether your Honda Fit's 5 star crash ratings actually hold vs. larger vehicle.

JT

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Re: Has InformedforLife.org (vehicle safety ratings) gone too far?

Post by randomguy » Fri Jan 12, 2018 9:44 pm

onourway wrote:
Fri Jan 12, 2018 9:21 pm
Strongly agree with the need to consider active safety in the ability of the driver and vehicle to be able to avoid accidents vs. passive safety where you always want a bigger cage. We have an SUV considered among the safest vehicles on the road. It even handles better than average for an SUV carrying that much weight. I still feel much safer in my lighter vehicles with better visibility and better handling characteristics. Of course putting a number to that is essentially impossible. Thus we get site like this that tout passive safety above all else.
Actually we can put numbers on it. That is what the highway saftey data does. And that is pretty clear that your lighter car is lot more dangerous;). You might feel safer. Odds are you are not. And no you being a well above average driver (aren't we all?:)), doesn't change that.

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Re: Has InformedforLife.org (vehicle safety ratings) gone too far?

Post by onourway » Fri Jan 12, 2018 9:53 pm

randomguy wrote:
Fri Jan 12, 2018 9:44 pm
Actually we can put numbers on it. That is what the highway saftey data does. And that is pretty clear that your lighter car is lot more dangerous;). You might feel safer. Odds are you are not. And no you being a well above average driver (aren't we all?:)), doesn't change that.
That simply puts a number on the results of accidents that have happened. There is no way of quantifying the accidents that were avoided.

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Re: Has InformedforLife.org (vehicle safety ratings) gone too far?

Post by Alex Frakt » Fri Jan 12, 2018 10:08 pm

Yes, he has gone too far. I say "he", because informedforlife.org is the pet project of one person, retired aerospace engineer Michael Dulberger. When he was aggregating NHTSA and IIHS ratings, it was fine. But, IMO, his opinion that weight trumps all else is not supported by the evidence. For one thing, most of the effect from weight in car safety comes from its use as a proxy for crush zone volume which is the chief way engineers have to decrease the peak forces in a crash. A '57 Chevy Bel Air weighs 3500 pounds but is extremely dangerous because it wasn't engineered to spread the energy of an impact over time. At the other extreme, an F1 car weighs 1605 lbs including driver, yet drivers typically walk away from crashes at speeds that aren't obtainable on our public roads.

For another, he simply ignores data that don't support his conclusions, such as the much higher overall driver fatality rates for pickup trucks up to 4000 pounds or the increase in fatality rates among SUV drivers as you move from the 4,000 to 4500 pound class.

Finally he falls into the classic trap of confusing correlation with causation. The cause of most vehicle fatalities is poor decision making by drivers. If drivers with worse decision making are overrepresented in certain vehicle types, those types will have higher fatality rates regardless of the relative safety of the vehicles. For example younger and poorer drivers drive up the fatality rates of cheaper and smaller cars. The very old do the same for larger domestic cars. You can even see this effect within a single platform, for example the 2011-2014 Dodge Grand Caravan has a fatality rate of 35 per million vehicle years while the mechanically identical, but higher priced Chrysler Town and Country has a rate of 22. Or the 4WD Chevy Suburban having a fatality rate of 39 versus the equivalent 4WD GMC Yukon XL's rate of 11. OTOH, middle aged, middle and upper class, suburban drivers are extremely safe in general. They tend to drive luxury cars, larger cars and SUVs, so it's no surprise those classes of car have an excellent safety record. If you took all the Audi A6 drivers (0 fatalities) and made them swap vehicles with the Buick Regal drivers (40 fatalities per million vehicle years), it would be foolhardy to expect that the numbers would not immediately and substantially change.

Data is from the latest fatality rates report from the IIHS at http://www.iihs.org/externaldata/srdata/docs/sr5203.pdf [pdf].

So how do you sort through all this? Start with the assumption that once you reach midsize cars or SUVs, the safety gains from going larger are small and uncertain. Then look at the IIHS and NHTSA ratings. And then realize that it is your behavior that is responsible for your safety, not the characteristics of the vehicle. I found it very telling that the insurance companies that give you the option of using a device to record your in car behavior to determine your rates normally looks at only 3 factors: how much time you spend driving, how often you hit the brakes hard, and how often you drive late at night (after 11pm or midnight depending on the company). If you want to decrease your risk, modify your driving accordingly.

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Re: Has InformedforLife.org (vehicle safety ratings) gone too far?

Post by onourway » Fri Jan 12, 2018 10:15 pm

Thanks Alex. I was in the midst of drawing up a response discussing many of the same points but you beat me to it and put it much more clearly.

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Re: Has InformedforLife.org (vehicle safety ratings) gone too far?

Post by Shikoku » Fri Jan 12, 2018 10:46 pm

Elemental wrote:
Fri Jan 12, 2018 1:24 pm
My newest vehicle has automatic braking, and I still worry that it will decide to brake when it shouldn't and actually cause a problem. That hasn't happened yet, but the pre-brake warning has happened when I didn't think it should have.
Elemental,
Do you mind to share the make and model of the newest vehicle you are indicating?
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Re: Has InformedforLife.org (vehicle safety ratings) gone too far?

Post by randomguy » Fri Jan 12, 2018 10:55 pm

onourway wrote:
Fri Jan 12, 2018 9:53 pm
randomguy wrote:
Fri Jan 12, 2018 9:44 pm
Actually we can put numbers on it. That is what the highway saftey data does. And that is pretty clear that your lighter car is lot more dangerous;). You might feel safer. Odds are you are not. And no you being a well above average driver (aren't we all?:)), doesn't change that.
That simply puts a number on the results of accidents that have happened. There is no way of quantifying the accidents that were avoided.
If one car has 40 deaths/100k miles and the other has 20k deaths per 100k miles, does it matter how many accidents have happened?:) Death and accident rates are normalized by number of miles so if you were avoiding them, it would show up in the data.

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Re: Has InformedforLife.org (vehicle safety ratings) gone too far?

Post by Elemental » Fri Jan 12, 2018 11:36 pm

Shikoku wrote:
Fri Jan 12, 2018 10:46 pm
Elemental wrote:
Fri Jan 12, 2018 1:24 pm
My newest vehicle has automatic braking, and I still worry that it will decide to brake when it shouldn't and actually cause a problem. That hasn't happened yet, but the pre-brake warning has happened when I didn't think it should have.
Elemental,
Do you mind to share the make and model of the newest vehicle you are indicating?
I didn't quite get a car that was on the "safest" list. I went with a 2016 Honda Accord with the Honda Sensing package. That package was optional at the time, but could be ordered at any trim level. Even though the vehicle was missing one star on the front passenger side, it had all 5 stars everywhere else, including on rollover, so I considered it a wash against other similar rated vehicles, and I could have the extra safety features that I couldn't afford on the top trim levels of other makes.

Elemental
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Re: Has InformedforLife.org (vehicle safety ratings) gone too far?

Post by Elemental » Fri Jan 12, 2018 11:38 pm

Thanks everyone for your replies, I really appreciate all the information you've provided. There's certainly a lot to think about.

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Re: Has InformedforLife.org (vehicle safety ratings) gone too far?

Post by kerplunk » Sat Jan 13, 2018 12:30 am

My girlfriend was T-boned in her BMW X5 and the vehicle saved her life, no doubt. Other vehicle was a large pickup truck. If she was in a smaller car, who knows what would have happened. I bought a Porsche Cayenne a few days after her accident — large, heavy vehicle that handles well. It’s very scary to see a wrecked car up close.

With all of that said, living life in constant fear is no way to live.

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Re: Has InformedforLife.org (vehicle safety ratings) gone too far?

Post by Shikoku » Sat Jan 13, 2018 12:33 am

Elemental wrote:
Fri Jan 12, 2018 11:36 pm
Shikoku wrote:
Fri Jan 12, 2018 10:46 pm
Elemental wrote:
Fri Jan 12, 2018 1:24 pm
My newest vehicle has automatic braking, and I still worry that it will decide to brake when it shouldn't and actually cause a problem. That hasn't happened yet, but the pre-brake warning has happened when I didn't think it should have.
Elemental,
Do you mind to share the make and model of the newest vehicle you are indicating?
I didn't quite get a car that was on the "safest" list. I went with a 2016 Honda Accord with the Honda Sensing package. That package was optional at the time, but could be ordered at any trim level. Even though the vehicle was missing one star on the front passenger side, it had all 5 stars everywhere else, including on rollover, so I considered it a wash against other similar rated vehicles, and I could have the extra safety features that I couldn't afford on the top trim levels of other makes.
Not so long ago, I spent countless hours researching vehicle safety after our teenager started driving. We settled on a SUV. The primary criteria we used in selecting the automaker was its track record on safety.

When small-overlap frontal crash test was introduced by IIHS several years ago, a 2003 designed vehicle aced the test while many new vehicles failed the test shamefully.
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Re: Has InformedforLife.org (vehicle safety ratings) gone too far?

Post by Finridge » Sat Jan 13, 2018 3:59 am

I spent some time looking through the site. Yes, I agree they went to far.

Does anyone know of sites that provide this kind of information that are more usable?

Also, something I saw raises questions in my mind. I compared the 2018 models of the Honda Odyssey and the Toyota Sienna. The Odyssey is rated "safest", at least in part because it's IIHS Front Crash Prevention System Score is a 6 (highest). The Sienna is not rated as well, for several reasons, but one reason is that it's IIHS Front Crash Prevention System Score is a 1 (lowest). The site explains (inaccurately, as we will see later): "The FRONTAL CRASH PREVENTION System evaluation conducted by IIHS assigns 1-to-6 points to vehicles equipped with frontal collision-prevention systems. The best score possible is 6 which requires a demonstrated reduction in 25 m.p.h. impact speed of at least 22 m.p.h. Score = 5 the reduction is at least 10 m.p.h. IIHS classifies scores of 5 or 6 as Superior."

Moving over to the IIHS web site, the Sienna indeed only gets 1 point for front crash prevention, but this is because "autobrake not tested."

Going to "About our tests" the IIHS notes: "Some vehicles advertised as having autobrake along with forward collision warning earn only 1 point and a basic rating if the autobrake fails to slow the vehicle enough to earn points in IIHS tests. If the Institute hasn’t tested a vehicle’s autobrake system, but NHTSA recognizes its forward collision warning system, the vehicle gets a rating of "basic; autobrake not tested."

My take-away: Some models have scores of only "1" not because their crash prevention system is inferior, but only because the IIHS just hasn't gotten around to testing them yet. With InformedforLife.org's methodology, these cars are treated as having an inferior crash prevention system and labeled as not as safe.

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Re: Has InformedforLife.org (vehicle safety ratings) gone too far?

Post by snackdog » Sat Jan 13, 2018 4:32 am

Most people I know rave about vehicle safety but make little to no effort to minimize driving. We are accustomed to the convenience of having the car at our disposal for any whim and to having no patience. With an actual strategy to minimize car use, you can drive it way, way down. Consolidate all errands and shopping to one trip a week or less. Find alternate means for commuting - bus or bike. Definitely consider one car per household since even then it is idle 90 percent of the day and Uber can now fill any gaps. Eschew suburban lifestyles and live where you can walk.

I’m far from a role model, driving to work every day, but we put about 5,000 per year on our single vehicle. We really minimize driving after dark as well since the behavior of other drivers gets so erratic.

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Re: Has InformedforLife.org (vehicle safety ratings) gone too far?

Post by randomguy » Sat Jan 13, 2018 9:25 am

snackdog wrote:
Sat Jan 13, 2018 4:32 am
Most people I know rave about vehicle safety but make little to no effort to minimize driving. We are accustomed to the convenience of having the car at our disposal for any whim and to having no patience. With an actual strategy to minimize car use, you can drive it way, way down. Consolidate all errands and shopping to one trip a week or less. Find alternate means for commuting - bus or bike. Definitely consider one car per household since even then it is idle 90 percent of the day and Uber can now fill any gaps. Eschew suburban lifestyles and live where you can walk.

I’m far from a role model, driving to work every day, but we put about 5,000 per year on our single vehicle. We really minimize driving after dark as well since the behavior of other drivers gets so erratic.
Pedestrain death rates are about 2x that of drivers. And walking while texting is extra dangerous/:) I wouldn't change my life to avoid driving because of death rate. That is letting a pretty unreasonable fear run your life. Change it because you prefer the lifestyle

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Re: Has InformedforLife.org (vehicle safety ratings) gone too far?

Post by Finridge » Sat Jan 13, 2018 2:15 pm

snackdog wrote:
Sat Jan 13, 2018 4:32 am
Find alternate means for commuting - bus or bike. D
Longtime bicycle commuter here. Bicycle because it's less expensive, because you enjoy it and because it's good exercise. But (unless you can get where you are going using only dedicated off-the-roads bike paths--which is impossible 99.9% of the time in the U.S.) do not commute by bicycle because you think it's safer then driving a car. It is not. There is too much of a risk that you will be hit by a car.

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Re: Has InformedforLife.org (vehicle safety ratings) gone too far?

Post by Marylander1 » Sat Jan 13, 2018 2:42 pm

Alex Frakt wrote:
Fri Jan 12, 2018 10:08 pm
But, IMO, his opinion that weight trumps all else is not supported by the evidence.
Were it true, one of the best investments in a safer life would be to fill your trunk with cinder blocks.

(This is not a recommendation.)

Marylander1

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Re: Has InformedforLife.org (vehicle safety ratings) gone too far?

Post by lazydavid » Sat Jan 13, 2018 3:46 pm

onourway wrote:
Fri Jan 12, 2018 9:53 pm
randomguy wrote:
Fri Jan 12, 2018 9:44 pm
Actually we can put numbers on it. That is what the highway saftey data does. And that is pretty clear that your lighter car is lot more dangerous;). You might feel safer. Odds are you are not. And no you being a well above average driver (aren't we all?:)), doesn't change that.
That simply puts a number on the results of accidents that have happened. There is no way of quantifying the accidents that were avoided.
Hogwash. There is an incredibly easy way of quantifying it, and they've already done so. You're assuming the statistics are "rate of fatalities per accident", but that's not the case at all. They are "rate of fatalites per million miles driven". So all the accidents that were avoided are factored in, and lighter cars on average STILL come out behind.

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Re: Has InformedforLife.org (vehicle safety ratings) gone too far?

Post by onourway » Sat Jan 13, 2018 4:24 pm

lazydavid wrote:
Sat Jan 13, 2018 3:46 pm
Hogwash. There is an incredibly easy way of quantifying it, and they've already done so. You're assuming the statistics are "rate of fatalities per accident", but that's not the case at all. They are "rate of fatalites per million miles driven". So all the accidents that were avoided are factored in, and lighter cars on average STILL come out behind.
The data set referenced actually does not use miles as a direct quantifier. It is per million registered vehicle years.
I can concede that this method does indirectly measure accidents avoided. Given that, the data actually appears to support the point that driver behavior is the largest factor in safety, as Alex clearly demonstrated above, the main driver of this particular set of statistics is demographics.

If weight was a primary driver of overall vehicle safety, the biggest trucks and suv's should be the safest, regardless of demographics, yet that isn't the case at all. In nearly any vehicle class you are interested in there are models that have exceptionally low rates.

Choose the vehicle you want to drive, and be conscientious behind the wheel. If you have kids, send them through driving programs like Street Survival where they will get an opportunity to experience a vehicle being driven at and beyond its limits. If you are not comfortable driving in any given weather conditions, stay home, or pull over and take a break. Your own decision making plays a far larger role in your survival behind the wheel than what you purchase.

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Re: Has InformedforLife.org (vehicle safety ratings) gone too far?

Post by dbr » Sat Jan 13, 2018 4:40 pm

onourway wrote:
Sat Jan 13, 2018 4:24 pm
lazydavid wrote:
Sat Jan 13, 2018 3:46 pm
Hogwash. There is an incredibly easy way of quantifying it, and they've already done so. You're assuming the statistics are "rate of fatalities per accident", but that's not the case at all. They are "rate of fatalites per million miles driven". So all the accidents that were avoided are factored in, and lighter cars on average STILL come out behind.
The data set referenced actually does not use miles as a direct quantifier. It is per million registered vehicle years.
I can concede that this method does indirectly measure accidents avoided. Given that, the data actually appears to support the point that driver behavior is the largest factor in safety, as Alex clearly demonstrated above, the main driver of this particular set of statistics is demographics.

If weight was a primary driver of overall vehicle safety, the biggest trucks and suv's should be the safest, regardless of demographics, yet that isn't the case at all. In nearly any vehicle class you are interested in there are models that have exceptionally low rates.

Choose the vehicle you want to drive, and be conscientious behind the wheel. If you have kids, send them through driving programs like Street Survival where they will get an opportunity to experience a vehicle being driven at and beyond its limits. If you are not comfortable driving in any given weather conditions, stay home, or pull over and take a break. Your own decision making plays a far larger role in your survival behind the wheel than what you purchase.
It is really best to recognize that fatality rates (meaning per mile driven or occupying a vehicle) are driven by many factors. As with anything that depends on many factors you can isolate factors to a degree by averaging over all the other factors but you also have to take into account correlations among factors. It is a standard problem in statistical analysis. So, the outcome is that vehicle mass is important to the result. Unlike many kinds of statistical analysis which finds correlations rather than causes, the role of vehicle mass is well understood by examining the physics of vehicle collisions, including the design of the vehicle and the biomechanics of how people are killed or injured in collisions, including with respect to seating position and engineering of the restraint systems. If the problem is to separate out vehicles by make and model and model year and maybe even trim level, then it is obvious many factors will affect the result so that two vehicles of the same mass could have quite different results, some of them dependent on engineering and some of them dependent on behavior of drivers who tend to select those particular vehicles. Sometimes the excursions due to one factor over other factors are quite large.

The data does include by its nature the effect of whether vehicle design or driver behavior enables better accident avoidance or mitigation of severity of accidents. If one wants to contend that vehicles with better handling characteristics or vehicles driven by more skilled drivers experience lower rates of a fatality and injury, then one has to analyze data where those variables are tabulated in the data set and amenable to analysis. Then, as with all statistics, one has to eliminate the possibility that the real cause is something different that is merely correlated with vehicle handling or driver skill.

Elemental
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Joined: Fri Feb 06, 2009 5:08 pm

Re: Has InformedforLife.org (vehicle safety ratings) gone too far?

Post by Elemental » Sat Jan 13, 2018 9:26 pm

Finridge wrote:
Sat Jan 13, 2018 3:59 am
...
My take-away: Some models have scores of only "1" not because their crash prevention system is inferior, but only because the IIHS just hasn't gotten around to testing them yet. With InformedforLife.org's methodology, these cars are treated as having an inferior crash prevention system and labeled as not as safe.
I noticed some missing data too. For example, the 2017 GMC Acadia should be on the list (I think) but the IIHS data is missing from Informed For Life, but available on the IIHS website. It is still missing the passenger side small overlap front test, so maybe that's why it still wouldn't make the more strict cut.
onourway wrote:
Sat Jan 13, 2018 4:24 pm
Choose the vehicle you want to drive, and be conscientious behind the wheel. If you have kids, send them through driving programs like Street Survival where they will get an opportunity to experience a vehicle being driven at and beyond its limits. If you are not comfortable driving in any given weather conditions, stay home, or pull over and take a break. Your own decision making plays a far larger role in your survival behind the wheel than what you purchase.
I'll look into some of the safe driving courses. I haven't found anything like "Street Survival" available in my area, but I'll keep looking. Thanks for all the advice in this thread.

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