mad anthony

Rants, politics, and thoughts on politics, technology, life,
and stuff from a generally politically conservative Baltimoron.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Is my truck going to kill me?

So on one of the message boards I read, someone posted this interesting list of the deadliest and least deadly vehicles, at least according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. What makes the list interesting is that MadAnthony's truck (you know, this one) is on the list for most deadly.

The list is drawn from actual crash data, rather than just from crash test data. Some would argue that this makes it more acturate - it's drawn from real accidents, not just dummies slamming into barriers.

But the reverse is also true. It also means that it includes not only the vehicles, but also the drivers. If you look at the list, you will notice something about the most dangerous vehicles - they are either inexpensive cars (Kia, Cavalier, Sunfire, Neon, ect) or a few mid-priced performancy cars also popular among young people (Mustang, RSX, 350z, and the rare 2 door 2wd Blazer). The safest list, on the other hand, has the boring kinds of vehicles that older people with families and more money and common sense tend to buy - Honda and Toyota minivans and SUV's, the BMW X5, ect. Are these cars inherently safer? Maybe - but they are also probably driven by older, more conservative drivers - and I'm guessing that people tend to drive more safely when their child is in the back seat.

The associated article mentions that they tried to adjust for gender, because guys, being dumbasses, tend to have more accidents. But there is no way to adjust for the preferences of drivers - but it seems likely that the kind of driver who would buy a Mustang is probably going to take more risks - drive faster, not wear a seatbelt, ect - than the average Honda Oddessy buyer.

And there is always going to be an element of randomness. One thing that's interesting about the the list is that some vehicles appear on it, but other very similar vehicles don't. The Chevy Blazer 2wd 2 door makes the list -in fact, it's the most dangerous of all - but none of it's other nearly identical stablemats (the 4wd 2 door, the 4 door in either 2wd or 4wd, or any of the GMC Jimmy or Oldsmobile Bravada varients) make the list. Hell, the Nissan 350z makes the most dangerous list, but the Infiniti G35 - whose coupe version is nearly identical - makes the safest list. (The list just shows it as a luxury car, so I'm guessing it includes both the sedan and the coupe - it's the coupe that has lots in common with the Z). The 4WD Ranger and 2WD Mazda B-series make the list, but not the 4wd mazda or 2wd ranger (they are identical, badge engineered twins). Granted, they are towards the bottom of the list, so it could be that they are just below.

Still, I think there is a lot of randomness. I feel safer in the Ranger than in my previous vehicles - I've got a lot more metal surrounding me (especially in the event of a rear-end collision) than I did in my old K-Car or PT Cruiser, and I've got 4WD, which is nice when it snows. But I'm guessing my insurance would be lower if I had picked a vehicle that was more popular among people who are better drivers....


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