It is common to assume that luxury vehicles will fare better in a car accident than a less expensive vehicle. A new report by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) showed that luxury cars failed front-corner impact tests at an alarming rate. According to a news report in the Los Angeles Times, only three out of 11 luxury cars from the 2012 model year passed the new crash test. Officials say that most of the vehicles that failed the new front corner test can pass a normal front-end crash test.
Vehicles that failed the new test include BMW, Mercedes and Lexus. In fact, all of those manufacturers earned poor ratings when tested for front corner collisions. Not all cars, however, received poor ratings. The Acura TL and Volvo S60 earned good ratings, and the Infiniti G received an acceptable rating.
Front End Collisions
It is important that auto manufactures strive to build vehicles that can absorb a front-end collision because those types of accidents often result in catastrophic or fatal injuries. It is common for victims of head-on collisions to suffer fatal injuries or devastating brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, multiple bone fractures and neck injuries.
In such collisions, the crash forces are transmitted to the front wheel, the suspension system and firewall, according to IIHS. In many instances, the front wheel pushes into the cabin causing serious leg and foot injuries. IIHS recommends that the auto industry design the passenger safety cage in such a manner that it resists front-corner impacts. Crush-zone structures that are already built into today’s vehicles are better at protecting occupants from direct hits to the front of the vehicle. IIHS officials hope that their new rating program will change the problem of “overlap crashes” that have so far not been addressed.
Auto Products Liability Issues
The term “auto products liability” refers to motor vehicle manufacturers and their legal duty to consumers to design and make safe, crashworthy vehicles. What this means is that automakers must manufacture vehicles that are designed to be safe in foreseeable crashes. The protection that a vehicle provides to its occupants in the event of a car accident is referred to as its “crashworthiness.” If an automaker produces a vehicle that is determined not to be crashworthy and if a design defect contributed to the accident or worsened the injuries sustained, the automaker can be held liable for the damages. An experienced auto products liability attorney will be able to advise injured victims in such cases about their legal rights and options.