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Posts from the ‘News and Statistics’ Category


The Best Vehicles for Child Safety Seats

Car seats. We curse at them. We fight them. We pound them and pull at them. However, we can’t live without them. We all know that our relationship with child safety seats is a troubled one; but does it need to be this way?

Do car seats really need to be so difficult to install and move from one vehicle to another? No, no, no, cry consumer advocates and safety monitors such as the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute. They say that carmakers need to do more to make their vehicles car-seat friendly. They point to the Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children (LATCH) system that should be the industry standard and should make the installing and removing car seats a breeze.

Unfortunately, a recent survey of the top model year 2010 and 2011 passenger vehicles found that only 21 of 98 were equipped with easy to use latch systems. Speaking about the insidious evilness of the 77 vehicles possessing unfriendly latches, Anne McCartt, the Insurance Institute’s senior vice president for research, said, “Installing a child restraint isn’t always as simple as a couple of clicks and you’re done. Sometimes parents blame themselves when they struggle with latch, but oftentimes the problem lies with the vehicle, not the user.”

McCartt and others have put together a report and listing of which cars are the friendliest to child safety seats. To determine which vehicles are the best the evaluated how the clearance, depth and force needed to install the seats in each vehicle. Their findings are below.

2011 models that meet all 3 easy-installation criteria:

  • Audi A4 Quattro
  • Cadillac Escalade
  • Chevrolet Equinox LT
  • Chevrolet Silverado 1500 crew cab LT
  • Chevrolet Suburban LT; Chevrolet Tahoe LS
  • Chrysler Town & Country (2010)
  • Dodge Caliber Mainstreet; Dodge Grand Caravan
  • Dodge Ram 1500 crew cab
  • Ford Escape XLT
  • Ford F-150 SuperCrew Cab
  • GMC Sierra 1500 crew cab SLE
  • Honda Pilot EX-L
  • Kia Sedona LX
  • Land Rover Range Rover Sport
  • Mercedes-Benz C300
  • Mercedes-Benz E350
  • Mitsubishi Eclipse coupe GS
  • Mitsubishi Lancer ES
  • Toyota Tacoma extended cab

The 2011 models that don’t meet any easy-installation criteria: Buick Enclave CX; Chevrolet Impala LT; Dodge Avenger Express; Ford Flex SEL; Ford Taurus Limited; Hyundai Sonata Limited; Toyota Sienna XLE.

Thanks for this guest post goes out to the team at and


BMW Trunk Mat Fire Hazard

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and BMW have both warned owners of certain BMW 5 and 6-series cars not to park their vehicles inside until a hazardous battery cable problem has been resolved.

In an effort to identify the wayward cables and replace them, BMW is recalling nearly 400,000 of the cars in America from the 2004 to 2010 model years. The problem is that the battery cable connector can work itself lose in the trunk and overheat, which could lead to the trunk floor mat fire. Worldwide, around 1.3 million vehicles could be affected.

Interestingly and thankfully, as of the time of this writing, only a single fire has been caused by the loose cable. No one has been injured by the defect.  The automaker initially found out about the problem in 2006 according the NHTSA documents, though the specific source of the problem was not identified until April 2011 when a special task force found it.

So if you are in the market for a used car loan, you might want to avoid 2004-2010 Bimmers.

Audi A3

Top 10 Safest Small Cars: Forbes, the publication that knows all things moneyed and business, has released another one of its useful lists: its ranking of the 10 safest small cars. This information is especially needed these days as more people are going small, since smaller cars are more at risk on the road than are larger vehicles. Audi A3

Although there were more than 32,000 road deaths in the U.S. in 2010, overall road deaths are forever ebbing lower and lower due to vehicles being safer and DUI and seatbelt laws stricter, road accidents are still the top killer of people between three and 34 years of age. Forbes’ list was made to help those interested in smaller cars remain on the roads. It was made through consultation with the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), a non-profit financed by the insurance industry, and its 2012 model-year list of “Top Safety Picks.”

Vehicles were evaluated for their performance in side, rollover, rear-end and front collisions. The vehicles were given scores of good, acceptable, marginal or poor for each type of collision.

Forbes’ top 10 safest small cars are:

  • Audi 3
  • Buick Verano
  • Chevrolet Cruze
  • Chevrolet Sonic
  • Chevrolet Volt
  • Lexus CT 200h
  • Mazda Mazda3
  • Scion tC
  • Subaru Impreza
  • Toyota Prius

NHTSA ‘Comfortable’ With Chevy Volt Safety Changes

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration feels that recent safety changes suggested and tested by General Motors should help prevent future Chevrolet Volt battery fires. The fires, that have thus far only found purchase during safety crash tests, have been such a perceived threat to GM that the automaker has recently taken the proactive step of offering loaner vehicles to owners of the plug-in vehicle.

The changes are the adding of steel reinforcement around the battery and the installation of a monitor to keep an electric eye on coolant leakage, which is thought to be the cause of the fires. Though the investigation is still open, NHTSA Administrator David Strickland, speaking at the recent Detroit Auto Show, said that the agency was “comfortable” with GM’s proposed corrections.

In the four safety tests GM ran with the changes in place in December, no coolant leaked and no fires started.

2011 chevy volt

Image by swirlspice


Run Red Lights And You Could Become A Viral Video Star

Finally, someone has found a good use for those ever-watching red light cameras. American Traffic Solutions, the top supplier of red light cameras in the U.S., has started posting online videos of cars speeding through red lights.

The thought is that people will think twice about running red lights if they know that by doing so they may become, albeit against their will, online video stars. “There are so many people that think their time is more valuable than your life,” said Russ Rader, of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, in an interview with ABC 7 News, Washington.

Though there remains some controversy over these cameras, with some claiming that they cause rear-end collisions as people quickly stop to avoid having their photos taken, at least one study by the IIHS determined that the cameras have saved lives by reducing the number of deadly accidents in intersections.


Image by samantha celera


IIHS Says Seat Belt Use Increasing

According to information released by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), seat belt use is on the rise, thanks in part to publicized enforcement efforts. Additionally, more states have begun to require seat belts use by rear seat passengers as well as front seat occupants.

Illinois is the latest state to require backseat passengers to wear their seat belts. The new law in Illinois makes skipping your seat belt a primary offense, meaning that police officers can pull a car over if they notice an unbelted occupant. Fines in Illinois start at $25 per unbelted passenger. With the passing of this law, Illinois becomes one of 30 with a primary enforcement law.

Twenty-six states and the District of Columbia require rear seat occupants to wear seat belts and every  state except New Hampshire require seat belt use by front-seat occupants. The IIHS points out that using shoulder belts in the backseat reduces the risk of a fatal injury during a crash by 44% in cars and 73% in vans and SUVs.


Image by DanieVDM


Drunk WALKING Dangerous According To Doctors

Drunk driving has been all over the news. It is heavily advertized against during the holiday seasons and illegal year round. Now, some doctors are warning against drunk walking.

It is not so much that you may injure someone else while walking drunk, but that your judgment is impaired and you may walk into the path of cars or simply get lost. You may also fall asleep in a dangerous place or outside when it is too cold to remain outdoors for an extended period. Dr. Thomas Esposito of Loyola University Health System said, ” Alcohol impairs your ability to walk and navigate, especially if you’re in the dark.”

National Highway Traffic Safety Association statistics show that 4,378 pedestrians died after being struck cars in the United States in 2008. In half of those accidents, alcohol had been consumed by either the pedestrian or the driver.

pedestrian crosswalk

Image by takomabibelot


Police Handing Out Reward For Safe Driving

There is no reason to start wondering what you did wrong when a police officer in Prosper, Texas approaches your car. Police in the town have been handing out $10 gift cards to drivers that they observe wearing their seat belts and driving within the speed limit.

”We wanted to give back to the community to reinforce those safe driving habits,” said assistant police chief Gary McHone. The officers are not sparking up the cherries and startling people. They are approaching the drivers on foot once they have parked, then handing them the gift cards.

The gift cards are funded by the police department through officer contributions and community fundraisers held earlier in the year.


Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over: Dec 13 – Jan 2


On December 13, 2011 the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced that it was kicking off a nationwide crackdown on drunk driving. This effort follows closely on the heels of President Obama’s declaration that December is National Impaired Driving Prevention Month.

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said, ”Safety is our focus year round at the Department of Transportation, but this holiday season we’re stepping up our efforts to get drunk drivers off our roads and reminding Americans ‘drive sober, or get pulled over.’  We’re making gains in our fight against drunk driving, but we cannot and will not let up.” The ”Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign will start December 16th and run through January 2nd.

Driving impaired is never an intelligent decision. Most people know that there is a larger number of drunk drivers on the highways during the Christmas/New Year’s holiday season. The police are always out in force during this season. Why take a chance? Call a cab or a friend. Do not become a statistic.


Good News: Overweight Children Just as Safe in Car Seats

There has been recent concern that off-the-shelf car seats are not as safe for overweight children. The issues was that car seats do not fit properly, thus making them less safe. In response to those concerns, the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s Center for Injury Research and Prevention conducted a study, which showed those concerns to be unfounded.

The study is important because a worrisome 32% of children in the United States are overweight, says the lead author of the study,  Dr. Mark Zonfrillo. If you have a child that fits into that shockingly large category, you can relax and rest assured that your super-sized child is just as safe as any other in their car seat.

Zonfrillo said, ”This research should reassure parents that their only concern when it comes to car seat safety should be to follow the most recent guidelines set by the American Academy of Pediatrics.” when it comes to proper car seat installation and use.  Current American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) guidelines say that children should remain rear-facing until at least age 2 or until they reach the rear-facing height and weight limit for the car seat. Once forward-facing, children should stay in a five-point harness until they reach the manufacturer’s height and weight limit for that seat. They should then move to a belt-positioning booster seat, where they should remain until they are 4’9” tall, usually between ages 8 and 12.