Kline Legal Group P.L.C.

Analysis of fatal accidents reveals risks of older vehicles

A research paper from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has identified vehicle age as a contributing factor in death rates from car accidents in Michigan and throughout the U.S. According to the study, a driver in a car that is at least 18 years old has a 71 percent higher chance of dying in a wreck than someone driving a vehicle that is new or under three years of age.

The study only looked at fatal crashes, and researchers adjusted figures to remove the influence of factors like blood alcohol level, driver age and type of road. The risk of death declined as a vehicle's age dropped. Researchers defined newer vehicles as three years old or less. Fatality statistics for drivers in vehicles between 8 and 11 years old showed that they died at a 19 percent higher rate than drivers in new cars. For vehicles between 4 and 7 years old, the fatality rate for drivers was only 10 percent higher than newer vehicles.

Newer vehicle models, however, offer little safety benefit to people who do not buckle seat belts. Drivers who did not use seat belts experienced only a small difference in outcomes between old and new cars with respective death rates calculated at 78 percent and 72 percent.

Car accidents represent a major source of death and injury. Someone hurt because of a reckless driver who was speeding, texting or drinking, could pursue a personal injury claim. An attorney could aid the effort to recover money for medical bills and lost pay by gathering evidence about the accident and meeting with an insurance adjuster. In some cases, an attorney might gain a judgment against a reckless driver's personal assets beyond insurance coverage.

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