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Does anyone know of a way to objectively compare safety ratings between different eras of cars?

The standards for safety ratings change periodically, and great strides have been made in safety. I'm curious how much risk I'd remove by upgrading from a 2010 to a 2015 or 2018.

Driver death data [1] mentioned below may be the best source, just curious if there are any others.

Also, [2] is a really interesting crash test between a 1998 Corolla and a 2015 Auris (rebranded Corolla).

[1] https://www.iihs.org/ratings/driver-death-rates-by-make-and-...

[2] https://youtu.be/IVEjsvip8kc






Also worth considering is that anything after 2018 likely has intelligent crash prevention features. In addition to modern cars being much safer in a crash, the benefits of avoiding collisions altogether have to be worth it.

I’ve been driving a car with the pre collision warnings, lane departure warnings, etc since 2017 and it has saved me at least once.

There’s a concern about moral hazard with the new technologies, but my rule is to drive as if the car has no safety features, and if they activate, then that is a bonus.

It’s hard to compare the collision prevention systems over time since they’re so new, but just going off the narrative reporting from IIHS, and comparing the test standard in 2017 vs 2020, leads me to believe they’ve made great strides in the last few years.


> Also worth considering is that anything after 2018 likely has intelligent crash prevention features. In addition to modern cars being much safer in a crash, the benefits of avoiding collisions altogether have to be worth it.

I expect they're a net gain for the public, but that for an individual who's conscientious and never drives under the influence, tired, or distracted, that they're only marginally useful at best.


>I expect they're a net gain for the public, but that for an individual who's conscientious and never drives under the influence, tired, or distracted, that they're only marginally useful at best.

Possibly even negatively useful if you consider that the car they come in has significantly reduced visibility compared to it's '00s counterpart.


Some distractions are inevitable and unavoidable while driving, even if you know not to get distracted.

Lane departure avoidance systems that been when you start to drift sideways are really annoying, but the preemptive braking stuff seems like a really good thing to have.


> https://youtu.be/IVEjsvip8kc

Starting at 1:30, there's a 1998 vs 2015 Corolla. Manufacturers only started taking the small overlap frontal test seriously in 2015 (it was introduced in 2012). If you can afford not to, you really don't want to be driving a car older than that. The safety improvements that have been made in the last 10 years alone make a new car worth it.


It seemed weird the airbag didn't deploy on the 1998 Corolla. Googling "1998 corolla airbag" brought me to an article about the same video. Apparently, the Australian-model 1998 Corolla they used in the test wasn't equipped with an airbag.

https://jalopnik.com/this-crash-between-a-2015-and-a-1998-to...


As much as I like driving a car into the ground, I think getting a new car every 10 years is the sweet spot between safety upgrades, frugality and shiny new toy.

Here's some highlights and keep in mind there's a lag between the first car with a feature and it becoming a widely adopted standard. And of course each new feature is always being improved. 1959 - First car with 3 point seat belt as standard 1971 - First car with anti-skid brakes (ABS precursor) 1978 - First car with electronic 4 wheel ABS 1983 - First car with anti-skid control (ESC precusor) 1995 - First car with ESC 1997 - Curtain air bags 2002 - Knee air bags 2004 - Lane keeping assist 2009 - First car with emergency pedestrian braking 2009 - Rear-seat center airbags 2010 - Seat belt airbags 2016 - Tesla Autopilot 2018 - Reverse cameras become mandatory


>As much as I like driving a car into the ground, I think getting a new car every 10 years is the sweet spot between safety upgrades, frugality and shiny new toy.

The balance between frugality and safety upgrades is my internal struggle. Growing up, I remember it being a big deal when cars hit 100,000 or 120,000 miles. That's pretty common now, which makes the safety aspect more important.

I average ~12,000 miles/year, which is pretty close to the US average of 13,500 miles/year. With cars lasting so much longer than they used to, buying an older low-mileage car means you'll be driving a pretty old car by the time it becomes high mileage.

I'm going to run my 2010 Civic for awhile longer, then probably look at a ~3 year old car with ~80,000 miles. I can run it for ~6 years, end up with ~150,000 miles, then sell it to a high school kid who is only going to put 5,000 miles/year on it.


Cars from 2010-2018 would have been subject to many of the same tests anyway that could be compared directly. Just don't compare aggregates based on tests that only the later models were subject to.



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