Smaller Cars are Twice as Deadly

FINALLY, someone in the mainstream media covers the one aspect of the automotive fuel standards debate that almost everyone– even most Republicans– ignores: the inconvenient fact that smaller, lighter cars are more dangerous to drive. In a piece in August titled "People buy small cars even though they can be deadly", USA Today’s James Healey wrote a long story, and a produced great chart, on the danger of the lightest class of cars.

Americans are buying more small cars to cut fuel costs, and that might kill them.

As a group, occupants of small cars are more likely to die in crashes than those in bigger, heavier vehicles are, according to data from the government, the insurance industry and the National Academy of Sciences (NAS).

And its not because smaller cars are hitting heavier SUVs…light cars are twice as deadly when hitting trees, guardrails, and other light cars, and USA Today reports that 53 percent of light car fatalities are single-car or light car hitting light car accidents. You’re also more likely to be in an accident in a light car– probably because they are less visible. It’s a great piece with a lot of data and good talking points for the ongoing fight over CAFE standards. Now if Congress would just focus on the human cost of fuel efficiency mandates.