LIGHTER VERSUS HEAVIER VEHICLES: INCREASED WEIGHT EQUALS INCREASED SAFETY

The battle over whether lighter vehicles are as safe as heavier vehicles continues to rage. The dispute is fueled by proposed changes in the standards for Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE). In October 1991, the General Accounting Office (GAO) weighed in with its opinion on the effect of vehicle weight versus vehicle safety in a "blue book" report entitled, "Have Automobile Weight Reductions Increased Highway Fatalities?" The GAO report claims that while the proportion of light cars on the road has increased since the 1970s the highway fatality rate has not increased. GAO speculates that the shift to lighter cars has resulted in a more uniform fleet of lighter, less "aggressive cars," and this counteracts the fact that smaller cars are less crashworthy. The GAO report is being hotly disputed by many researchers in the field of traffic science. One of these is Leonard Evans, an internationally recognized authority on traffic safety. Evans was recently invited to comment on the GAO report by U.S. Representative John D. Dingell. This article is a distillation of Evans' reply.

  • Corporate Authors:

    General Motors Corporation

    Research and Development Center, 30500 Mound Road
    Warren, MI  United States  48090
  • Authors:
    • Evans, Leonard
  • Publication Date: 1992-7

Language

  • English

Media Info

  • Features: Figures; References;
  • Pagination: 4 p.
  • Serial:
    • SEARCH
    • Volume: 27
    • Issue Number: 2

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00716849
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
  • Report/Paper Numbers: HS-041 438
  • Files: HSL, TRIS, ATRI, USDOT
  • Created Date: Feb 21 1996 12:00AM