New Study Addresses Muscle Car Driver Fatalities

Are the vehicle type and its safety features (or lack thereof) to blame when a collision results in a fatality in San Clemente, or should we be placing a greater emphasis on the behavior of the driver who causes the accident? Numerous studies have addressed injury risks in smaller vehicles, suggesting that it is more dangerous to be involved in a crash in a company car or a sports car than in a larger sedan or SUV. Yet a new study from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) suggests that the type of driver may be more significant than the individual model of a vehicle when estimating the likelihood of a fatal accident. 

The study is important because it underscores that driver behaviors are often the cause of serious and deadly collisions. Our San Clemente auto accident lawyers can tell you more about the study and its potential implications for car accident claims in Southern California. 

Muscle Cars Associated With Highest Death Rates in Crashes

Previous research has suggested that the size and type of an individual motor vehicle can allow us to estimate the likelihood of a serious injury or a fatality when the vehicle is involved in a crash. 

To be sure, the physical aspects of a motor vehicle do play a role in crash safety, yet the new IIHS study intimates that we may be able to anticipate which cars are more likely to be involved in a collision that will result in a fatality (including head-on collisions and those involving excessive speeds). In short, driver death rates are highest in muscle car crashes, and the reason might be the behavior of the driver.

Do Muscle Car Motorists Drive More Aggressively?

The IIHS study notes, “American muscle cars with high horsepower and a hot rod image rank among the deadliest vehicles on the road, both for their own drivers and for people in other vehicles.” Yet the problem is not likely to be the safety characteristics or design of the vehicle itself. Instead, the new study shows that “a vehicle’s image and how it is marketed can also contribute to crash risk.” New muscle cars do not necessarily get poor safety ratings, but they have the highest death rates. 

As the IIHS clarifies, the “explanation may lie in the image of the vehicles,” noting how “the muscle cars on this list [linked to high death rates] are associated with the early days of the drag strip . . . and that seems to influence how they’re driven.” In other words, motorists who buy muscle cars might be more likely to imagine themselves engaging in “bolting off the line” acceleration, vehicle racing, and staying “ahead of the pack.” In sum, the language and marketing tactics for these types of vehicles could be “encouraging more aggressive driving,” according to the study.

The IIHS study suggests that motorists behind the wheel of muscle cars could be more likely to engage in negligent driving than other motorists. When that kind of aggressive and negligent driving causes a crash, you may be able to file a claim for compensation with assistance from an attorney.

Contact a San Clemente Car Accident Lawyer

If you need to know more about options for seeking compensation after a motor vehicle crash, one of the experienced San Clemente car accident attorneys at our firm can talk with you today. We can begin working with you on a car accident claim when you are ready to get started. Contact the Walton Law Firm today for more information.


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