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How Safe are Muscle Cars?

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How would your favorite muscle car perform in a crash test? How safe would you be in one of those cars if it were to crash? This is a question safety experts often get asked. But recently, the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS) went ahead and put some of the most popular muscle car models to test. USA TODAY reports that the answers they got were interesting. Muscle cars, it turns out are “good, but not great” when it comes to safety. IIHS performed safety tests on three top-selling muscle cars in the U.S. – the 2016 Chevy Camaro, Dodge Challenger and Ford Mustang.

Experts decided to put these cars to the test to find out what type of occupant protection they offer in the event of a crash. It is a fact that sports cars have high crash rates. In order to earn gold stars, so to speak, from the IIHS, cars must have good ratings in five categories – small overlap front, moderate overlap front, side, roof strength and head restraint evaluations. They must also receive at least a basic score in front crash prevention.

What They Found

The IIHS found that the Challenger trailed its competitors when it came to safety and not one of those three popular muscle car models qualified to get the agency’s Top Safety Pick honors. Here’s the breakdown. The Mustang got good ratings on all five main categories except small overlap front. It also got just a basic rating in front crash.

The Camaro got good ratings on all categories except roof strength. It did not get a rating for front crash prevention. The Challenger got food ratings in moderate overlap front and side, acceptable ratings in roof strength and head restraints and seats, and a marginal rating in small overlap front.

Why These Results Are Important

These results are critical because even though muscle cars are not the top-selling vehicles in the U.S., they are more often involved in collisions. There may be many reasons for this including the speed at which these cars are driven. One recent high-profile case was that of actor Paul Walker who was killed in a fiery crash after the Porsche Carrera GT his friend was driving crashed. Walker’s family filed a lawsuit alleging that the Porsche lacked safety features that are normally found on well-designed racing cars, features that could have prevented the crash or at the minimum, allowed the actor to survive the crash.

As auto defect lawyers who represent injured victims and their families, we believe that safety features in vehicles should be a requirement, not a luxury. Whether consumers purchase a sedan, an SUV, a pickup truck or a muscle car, they have the right to protection in the event of a crash. Safety features may cost automakers a little bit more per vehicle, but is there really a price you can put on human life?

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