This is an age of information and technology that has led to nearly everything around us being smarter. (Except perhaps the people.)

Electronic and digital components have entered our homes, offices, and automobiles, and made them all seem like smarter locations.

In the huge world of “smart” technology, the automotive electronics market is perhaps the top of the heap. Indispensable features such as electronic stability control and anti-lock braking systems and are great choices for smart and safe automotive electronics. Why not consider buying a used car or used truck with these features? Read more . . .

Thirteen vehicles earn the Institute’s  TOP SAFETY PICK award for 2007. The winners include four cars, seven SUVs, and two minivans.  This award recognizes vehicles that do the best job of protecting people in front, side, and rear crashes based on ratings in Institute tests.


Winners also have to be equipped with electronic stability control (ESC).  Vehicles eligible to win are  current small, midsize, and large car models plus minivans and small and midsize SUVs.    Pickup trucks aren’t included in this round of awards because the Institute hasn’t Read more . . .

Inflated airbag

As the driver of this car was turning left out of a parking lot, she was struck by an approaching SUV. The impact was severe, and vehicle damage was extensive. However, the driver escaped unscathed. She didn’t even seek medical attention. A likely reason was the side airbag that cushioned her head, chest, and abdomen during the collision. These are reducing driver deaths in cars struck on the near (driver) side by an estimated 37 percent. Airbags that Read more . . .

This technology could prevent nearly one-third of all fatal crashes and reduce the risk of rolling over by as much as 80 percent. The benefits are found in crashes involving one vehicle and more than one.

Cars on wet road

An extension of antilock brake technology, electronic stability control (ESC) is designed to help drivers retain control of their vehicles during high-speed maneuvers or on slippery
roads.  A previous Institute study found significant effects of ESC in reducing fatal single-vehicle crash risk. Using data from an additional year of crashes and a larger set of vehicle models, the researchers have updated the 2004 results, finding that ESC reduces fatal multiple-vehicle crash risk by 32 percent. Read more . . .

Police Car Involved Too

Bad statistics lead to misinformation.  Sweep ’em out. That’s what ought to be done with research “findings” based on misguided analyses of inappropriate data. This is the stuff to which British statesman Benjamin Disraeli referred, famously citing “lies, damned lies, and statistics” to bemoan the willy-nilly use of numbers.

Numbers can, and often are, used to “prove” just about any program or policy that anybody with an agenda wants to praise or discredit.  It’s an ongoing problem,  and the field of highway safety is no exception. A new report by former  Institute president Brian O’Neill and statistician Sergey Kyrychenko points to multiple examples of how motor vehicle death rates have been misinterpreted. These examples serve as powerful warnings of how not to use data.

Read the full article here, in PDF