The Dodge Ram 1500 has been on the market since 1981, despite its poor safety track record.
As anyone who has spent time researching car impact safety ratings knows, some cars provide better protection in the event of a crash than others. Vehicles must meet certain government-mandated safety minimums. These provide only an extremely basic level of protection, however, and many carmakers do little or nothing to move beyond these required thresholds.
To illustrate the disparity between various car models, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety recently conducted a new round of vehicle crash testing. The tests looked at four different categories of performance – front-impact crashes where a car hits a barrier at 40 miles per hour, side-impact crashes in which the driver’s side of the car is struck by a 3,300-pound vehicle (the approximate weight of an SUV) traveling at 31 miles per hour, rollover testing designed to determine how susceptible the vehicle is to rolling over, and the performance of seatbelts in rear-end collisions.
Although the experienced auto accident attorneys of Passen & Powell expected a variety of performance levels on these tests, even we were surprised at just how poorly some vehicles performed. In fact, seven vehicle models currently being sold in the United States received only “marginal” or “poor” ratings on at least two of the four tests.
The most troublesome categories for vehicles were the rear-impact and rollover tests. This is particularly troubling since these are some of the most common types of crash. In fact, six of the seven worst-performing vehicles received “marginal” or “poor” ratings in each of these categories.
Side-impact problems were the next most common problem, with one “marginal” and two “poor” scores among the seven worst offenders.
Using the IIHS ratings, Wall Street 24/7 compiled a list of the worst-performing vehicles on our nation’s roads. Wall Street 24/7 also looked at Consumer Reports’ ratings, crash safety ratings performed by the National Highway Transportation and Safety Administration, and JD Power’s overall Initial Quality report.
Despite their abysmal safety performance, these vehicles have enjoyed excellent sales. Most troubling to our auto accident lawyers is the fact that each of these vehicles saw an increase in sales from last year to this year – with six of the seven worst performers seeing sales increases of 19 percent or more.
So, which vehicles are the worst performers? According to the IIHS testing, the seven worst performers are the Dodge Ram 1500, the Chevrolet Colorado Crew Cab, the Mazda CX-7, the Mazda CX-9, the Nissan Pathfinder, the Jeep Wrangler, and the Suzuki SX-4. These vehicles not only rated poorly in the current model year, but had “persistent” quality and safety issues.
We at Passen & Powell urge consumers to research safety ratings before purchasing a vehicle. No matter how safe the driver, accidents happen, due to sheer bad luck or the negligence of other drivers. If an accident has occurred, talk to an attorney about whether you might have a civil case against the other driver, or against the manufacturer of the unsafe vehicle which contributed to your injuries.
For a free consultation with an experienced Chicago auto accident lawyer at Passen & Powell, call us at (312) 527-4500.