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Our Cars' Weight Problem - How government is making our cars lighter, and more dangerous

National Review Online -- Bigger and heavier is simply better when it comes to car crashes, all other things being equal.

We do not have to speculate about the safety ramifications of being in a smaller vehicle; the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) ran a rather expensive series of tests in which it pitted a smaller vehicle against the next size larger vehicle from the same manufacturer. Specifically, they ran a Honda Fit into a Honda Accord, a Toyota Yaris into a Toyota Camry, and a Mercedes C Class into a Smart Fortwo (owned by Mercedes).

In 40 mph offset-collision tests, the small cars were basically obliterated by their larger siblings. Here are the tests. Make sure to watch what happens to the crash dummy in the smaller vehicle.

See why size matters?

The sad truth is that these well-intentioned


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Submitted Jan 09, 2013 By: Nofries
Category: Daily News Article Discussions > Topics Add to favorite topics  
Author Topic: Our Cars' Weight Problem - How government is making our cars lighter, and more dangerous Back to Topics
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honda0105
Champion Author Tallahassee

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Message Posted: Jan 12, 2013 7:00:01 AM

losing mass on the inside by variable content would be much better. Wouldn't need the oversized mini-tanks.
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tomok
Champion Author Portland

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Message Posted: Jan 11, 2013 2:13:50 AM

How government is making our cars lighter and more dangerous! A less mass object in motion against a higher mass object in motion, the heavier object wins. Simple physics at work here!
Design vehicles to absorb front/rear/side impacts, maintain the passenger compartment and protect the driver and passengers. Defensive driving and vehicle sensors, cameras, radars and gps connected to a computer to help get from one place to another.
Whatever the size or shape of the vehicle, vehicle manufactures Produce and the population ‘Drives’ vehicles with high MPG, are very safe, reliable, have a ‘reasonable’ cost and a good ‘value’ for the money.
The price of fuel at the pump is too high!
XII/XXII/MMXII! - The Day After......
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honda0105
Champion Author Tallahassee

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Message Posted: Jan 10, 2013 11:03:08 PM

no one speaks of the aggressive but careless (often yacking or texting) drivers causing accidents in the first place.
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gobux10
Champion Author Ohio

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Message Posted: Jan 10, 2013 11:21:38 AM

Just physics
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teenitup
Champion Author Houston

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Message Posted: Jan 10, 2013 9:04:40 AM

I find it interesting and sad that the defenders of small cars are so vigorous in the face of so many deaths.
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FNB1967
Champion Author Ontario

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Message Posted: Jan 10, 2013 6:15:36 AM

Old
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JuicyQ69
All-Star Author San Bernardino

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Message Posted: Jan 10, 2013 12:55:37 AM

I fault rising gas prices.
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Nofries
Champion Author Atlanta

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Message Posted: Jan 10, 2013 12:12:28 AM

The article points out that fatalities have remained fairly constant... below copied from page 2 of the article...

The sad truth is that there is only so much magic that you can perform on the safety front by installing air bags and using high-tech materials like carbon fiber and even seat belts that begin to cinch you tighter as they anticipate the crash. The sad truth is that these well-intentioned and well-designed cars can’t defy physics.

There are approximately 42,000 motoring fatalities each year in the United States. That is a large number, and it has remained stubbornly at that level. Why, with all the technological innovations that have occurred in so many key areas, such as electronic stability control, anti-lock brakes, and air bags, have we not reduced those numbers significantly? The major reason, I believe, is the smaller vehicles our government has been pushing in order to support the environmental agenda.
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BennoBlue
Champion Author Virginia

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Message Posted: Jan 9, 2013 11:47:08 PM

This oh-so-scary article ignores the statistics of vehicle fatalities decreasing for years now, particularly recently. Today's vehicles are built with more and better safety features, so even in a small car, walking away from an accident is more likely.
And, as an earlier poster pointed out, it's funny they start with a picture of a Smart car, considering the TV commercial showing an SUV sitting on a Smart Fortwo, causing no damage!
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NemoIL
Champion Author Illinois

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Message Posted: Jan 9, 2013 11:25:59 PM

We can thank all the psychotic greens for cramming these smaller, lightweight vehicles down our throats. They have blood on their hands.
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Zonk
Champion Author Michigan

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Message Posted: Jan 9, 2013 11:19:51 PM

Smaller, lighter, etc. cars are not in my future plans.
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rahcat
Champion Author Grand Rapids

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Message Posted: Jan 9, 2013 11:13:53 PM

Try driving a Smart car into a Mack truck. Then call for a shovel, a mop and a bucket.
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boatfloyd
Champion Author Jacksonville

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Message Posted: Jan 9, 2013 11:09:11 PM

I own a Honda Fit, but I don't plan on running into a Honda Accord.
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Harry813
Champion Author Iowa

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Message Posted: Jan 9, 2013 11:08:35 PM

Why size matters?
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davenles
Champion Author Texas

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Message Posted: Jan 9, 2013 11:06:49 PM

Top fuel dragsters are small and relatively light weight, but the cockpit (and driver) can withstand one heck of a crash. It's all about how it's built and what materials are used.
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cheaper0ON
Champion Author Ontario

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Message Posted: Jan 9, 2013 11:03:46 PM

Hmmm...
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PrinceLH
Champion Author Ontario

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Message Posted: Jan 9, 2013 11:03:45 PM

and people don't even have to look in their sideview mirrors or learn to park anymore.
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Aviator_Rob
Champion Author New York

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Message Posted: Jan 9, 2013 11:03:43 PM

Forget the physics course and take an engineering course, @TA33. Modern design and materials have done much to increase the survivability of today's vehicles. Much like the old saying about the fall not killing you, it's the sudden stop at the end, modern vehicles do a much better job of decelerating the driver and passengers in an impact with much less injury.
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mcmonsta
Champion Author Honolulu

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Message Posted: Jan 9, 2013 11:03:41 PM

explorer vs smart car....is this so smart?
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blazerbob91
Champion Author Milwaukee

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Message Posted: Jan 9, 2013 10:59:34 PM

You see more roll overs.
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sydb7
Champion Author Atlanta

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Message Posted: Jan 9, 2013 10:57:43 PM

I don't know that this is true!
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Steve6921
Veteran Author New Hampshire

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Message Posted: Jan 9, 2013 10:56:26 PM

Then drive a bigger car and pay more for gas
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boatmen
Champion Author New York

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Message Posted: Jan 9, 2013 10:56:23 PM

crapola
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TA33
Champion Author Massachusetts

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Message Posted: Jan 9, 2013 10:54:50 PM

Not everyone passed Physics in school... A larger Mass + Velocity will crush a smaller Mass moving at a lesser velocity.
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NHLiveFree
Champion Author New Hampshire

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Message Posted: Jan 9, 2013 10:51:43 PM


Usual garbage opinion piece from the National Review.

Note the request for Donations below the item! No real news service requests Donations.
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carloco75
Champion Author Richmond

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Message Posted: Jan 9, 2013 10:49:09 PM

I had no idea government was in the business of ANY actual auto manufacturing...
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ricebike
Champion Author New Jersey

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Message Posted: Jan 9, 2013 10:48:12 PM

i dunno...
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wild3bill
Champion Author New York

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Message Posted: Jan 9, 2013 10:48:11 PM

Where all the cars are of similar size you reduce the problem of a BIG Fat SUV demolishing a VW , a Smart od a Mini!
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bston
Champion Author Oklahoma City

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Message Posted: Jan 9, 2013 10:45:58 PM

Yes, there's a trade-off when it comes to weight verses mpgs.
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skybiker
Champion Author South Carolina

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Message Posted: Jan 9, 2013 10:45:47 PM

Law of unintended consequences...
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GigHarborHound
Champion Author Tacoma

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Message Posted: Jan 9, 2013 10:44:31 PM

DUHHHHH!!!
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Aviator_Rob
Champion Author New York

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Message Posted: Jan 9, 2013 10:43:26 PM

Ask former New Jersey governor Jon Corzine how he feels about large government vehicles, @wulf2000. His driver was going 80mph in the state owned Chevy Suburban when it went off the highway.
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melvindale
Champion Author Michigan

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Message Posted: Jan 9, 2013 10:41:45 PM

Just 1 size apart. What about a mini car being hit by a large car? A truck? A semi?
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Aviator_Rob
Champion Author New York

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Message Posted: Jan 9, 2013 10:40:22 PM

I'm searching for some relevance in your comment, @Dragnet.

Still haven't found any.
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CiVX
Champion Author Oakland

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Message Posted: Jan 9, 2013 10:39:58 PM

Size matters to crash dummies.
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UpSol7
Champion Author Augusta

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Message Posted: Jan 9, 2013 10:38:48 PM

Yeah cause we're all better off if everyone drives an H3
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Aviator_Rob
Champion Author New York

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Message Posted: Jan 9, 2013 10:38:36 PM

How about telling us about pulling a Ford Explorer out of a ditch after it's rolled over three or four times, @OGW?
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mackconsult
Champion Author Portland

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Message Posted: Jan 9, 2013 10:37:24 PM

I like my 8000 lb sprinter that gets 30 MPG.
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Aviator_Rob
Champion Author New York

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Message Posted: Jan 9, 2013 10:37:14 PM

What a load of male bovine excrement! By the author's logic, we should all then drive super-sized behemoths in the name of safety. The problem is that we as humans never feel safe enough so of course we'll just buy ever larger vehicles, starting an arms race of rolling armored personnel carriers.

The truth however is that as cars have gotten smaller, they've also gotten safer. Features like anti-lock brakes and stability control make it much less likely you'll get into a crash. And even if you do crash, crumple zones in the car's design and ever more airbags make it much more likely you'll walk away from a crash that would have killed you, if you were driving a car even 10 years old.

Don't believe the false claim that a heavier car is inherently more safe.
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OGW
Champion Author London

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Message Posted: Jan 9, 2013 10:34:05 PM

Driving a wrecker for forty years now and I would not let a close family member near a small car, we call them coffins on wheels! We did 3 crashes involving the stupid car wait, Mercedes call it the Smart Car or Smart Fortwo which is for stupid people and all occupants in each Smart car were killed. Their safety claims are bullshit!
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us4usa
Champion Author Missouri

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Message Posted: Jan 9, 2013 10:34:02 PM

Just another reason to keep drving the 1-ton 4x4 crew cab dully...
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paulydel
Champion Author Delaware

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Message Posted: Jan 9, 2013 10:33:51 PM

Cars don't have a weight problem because its politics thats the problem.
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sickhp
Champion Author San Antonio

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Message Posted: Jan 9, 2013 10:32:49 PM

Keeping my light Vette it is safe.))
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s6sputnik
Champion Author Austin

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Message Posted: Jan 9, 2013 10:30:13 PM

That stinks
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thomas41546
Champion Author Tennessee

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Message Posted: Jan 9, 2013 10:30:10 PM

If the CUBE was the only car on the market, I believe I would elect to walk.
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rbrk02
Champion Author Rhode Island

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Message Posted: Jan 9, 2013 10:29:29 PM

PnnyPnchr wrote "If I am going to be in a head-on collision with an 18-wheeler I don't think it matters much if I'm in a Yaris (which I drive) or an F-150."

The problem here is that most collisions do not involve 18 wheelers but more moderate size vehicles such as the F150 mentioned.

If I am going to be in an accident with an F150 or other similar size (or smaller) vehicle, I would rather be behind the wheel of something significant in size such as my Explorer.

I certainly would not want to be driving something the size of a Yaris as I do not like my chances as much.

Bottom line is that smaller cars are indeed less safe and there is a large disparity in both size and weight, all adding up to reduced safety.
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CCLighthouse
Champion Author Hartford

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Message Posted: Jan 9, 2013 10:26:44 PM

I was kind of liking those little SmartforTwo cars! : )
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JENNYHK
Champion Author Chicago

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Message Posted: Jan 9, 2013 10:26:10 PM

Must think we are all soft.
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veemotors
Champion Author Alberta

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Message Posted: Jan 9, 2013 10:24:30 PM

old news
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30mpg80
Champion Author Lexington

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Message Posted: Jan 9, 2013 10:23:22 PM

Run a Hummer into a stone wall and see how happy the driver feels
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