Welcome! We regret to inform you that the Injury Board National News Desk has been discontinued. Feel free to browse around and enjoy our previously published articles, or visit The Injury Blog Network for the latest in personal injury news.

Minicars Save Gas But Maybe Not Lives In A Crash

Posted by Jane Akre
Tuesday, April 14, 2009 7:28 PM EST
Category: Major Medical, Protecting Your Family
Tags: Minicars, Automobile Accidents, Head-On Collisions

Minicars save gas but not lives according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

Head-On in a Minicar



IMAGE SOURCE:  New York Times Web site/ minicar collisions


Minicars are great on gas but if you get into an accident there likely will be a tradeoff on safety.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety took three minicars and slammed them into midsize automobiles in three separate road tests.  What they found and issued in a report today was that the Honda Fit, the Toyota Yaris and the Smart Fortwo fared poorly in the 40 mph collisions.

The midsize cars did either well or acceptably. 

The Honda Fit was driven head-on into the Honda Accord, the Toyota Yaris collided with a Toyota Camry, and the Smart Fortwo hit a Mercedes C-Class.  In that crash the Smart went airborne and spun around. It weighs half of the Mercedes.

Adrian Lund, the institute’s president tells the New York Times that “downsizing and down-weighting is also associated with an increase in deaths on the highway.”

Interestingly, small cars which are bigger than minis, had more deaths registered per million users than minicars. That might be because they are more often driven on highways.

The president of Smart USA says testing a collision with a head-on represents only a tiny fraction of real world accidents. As far as safety features, the car is equipped with front and side airbags, he says.

Minicars experienced a surge of popularity when gas prices recently shot up, but the safety versus weight argument also was reignited. 

People who want to cut down on the production of carbon dioxide, which leads to global warming, is also a reason people buy minicars. Production of carbon dioxide is proportional to fuel use, reports the New York Times.

Saving Lives On The Road

No word on how many more traffic deaths will result from the number of minicars on the road, but the National Academy of Sciences reported in 2002 that cutting down on vehicle weight to comply with federal fuel standards resulted in 1,300 to 2,600 additional deaths in 1993, the most recent year statistics were gathered.

When the national speed limit was lowered to 55 mph in 1974, it saved thousands of barrels of fuel per day and about 2,000 to 4,000 lives annually due to the lower speeds and a reduction in travel, according to the Institute.    #

1 Comment

Posted by Harry Scanlan
Wednesday, April 15, 2009 9:52 AM EST

Here are the video's for this.




Granted, the ForTwo has a full roll cage and even though it "Spun and Flipped" - I think you'd actually be better off in one overall.

Comments for this article are closed.

About the National News Desk

Our mission is to seek the complete truth and provide a full and fair account of the events and issues that surround personal safety, accident prevention, and injury recovery.  We are committed to serving the public with honesty and integrity in these efforts.

Hurt in an accident? Contact an Injury Board member

Subscribe to Blog Updates

Enter your email address if you would like to receive email notifications when comments are made on this post.

Email address


RSS Feed

Add the National News Desk to your favorite RSS reader

Add to Google Reader Add to myYahoo Add to myMSN Add to Bloglines Add to Newsgator Add to Netvibes Add to Pageflakes