Epic Fail: New Jersey Car Accident Lawyers Comment on New Crash Testing on Luxury Automobile Safety Features

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Luxury vehicles from some big name automakers performed poorly in a new crash test designed and released by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Automobiles with traditionally hefty price tags, including BMW, Lexus and Mercedes, sunk to the bottom of the pack when tested for front-corner impact protection. This type of accident occurs when only a portion, usually 25 percent, of a vehicle’s front end strikes another car or object such as a utility pole. The resulting damage can be catastrophic, as New Jersey car accident attorney Richard P. Console Jr. knows all too well.

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A luxury vehicle isn't necessarily a safe vehicle...This test highlights some serious safety concerns that affect millions of people.

Luxury vehicles from some big name automakers performed poorly in a new crash test designed and released by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety*. Automobiles with traditionally hefty price tags, including BMW, Lexus and Mercedes, sunk to the bottom of the pack when tested for front-corner impact protection. This type of accident occurs when only a portion, usually 25 percent, of a vehicle’s front end strikes another car or object such as a utility pole. The resulting damage can be catastrophic, as New Jersey car accident attorney Richard P. Console Jr. knows all too well.

“A luxury vehicle isn’t necessarily a safe vehicle,” says Console. “This test highlights some serious safety concerns that affect millions of people. Our firm sees clients affected by front-corner impact crashes every day. In some cases, their injuries will affect them for the rest of their lives.”

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety developed this new test using years of data compiled from real front-corner crashes that occurred on U.S. roadways. In each test, a quarter of the vehicle’s driver side collided with a five-foot reinforced barrier at 40mph. Data collected from these crashes measured how well each vehicles’ safety cage protected occupants from harm as well as how other safety features, including seatbelts and crush zones, distributed crash energies and kept occupants from flying around inside. The Institute decided to test luxury cars before other models because these higher-end vehicles typically receive the most advanced safety features, according to Institute spokespeople.

Only three of 11 luxury automobiles for the 2012 model year tested earned passing grades, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Of those vehicles that passed, only the Acura TL and Volvo S60 received “good” marks. While the Volvo S60 performed the best in terms of preserving the occupant compartment, results indicate its torso airbags didn’t deploy in time. Testers rated the 2012 Infiniti G as “acceptable” – the lowest passing grade. Meanwhile, the Audi A4, Lexus ES350, Lexus IS 250/350 and the Mercedes-Benz C-Class all received “poor” ratings for their responses to front-corner impacts due to significant intrusion into the occupant compartment. According to the report, a “poor” rating indicated that the car wouldn’t protect occupants very well in a real-world accident. Lexus IS models had 10 times the intrusion as the Volvo S60, according to the test results. In one crash, the Volkswagen CC’s driver door was completely torn from its hinges – the first such result in any test conducted by the Institute.

In 2010, there were 30,196 people killed in traffic-related events in the United States, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety estimates about 10,000 deaths occur every year from frontal impact crashes.

“Clients I’ve seen with injuries from front impact accidents typically have serious lower body damage,” says Console whose law firm of Pennsauken car accident lawyers has been in existence since 1994. “Bone breaks, torn tendons in the knees and nerve damage are all very common. Those types of injuries often require surgery and have significant recovery times. As the data shows, many of the crashes can also prove fatal.”

Increasing protections against front-corner impacts will reportedly take time. Institute officials commented to the media that the poor performance of luxury models in this new test may suggest the problem may also stretch into more affordable car models as well. The testers reportedly have plans to expand testing to include other types of vehicles, and will reportedly adopt the more stringent criteria in its 2014 awards cycle. Luxury automakers may have to go back to the drawing board to improve safety and get a head start on the next generation of protection for drivers and passengers. Rising to the occasion here, as car manufacturers done many times before, can only be a benefit for all concerned.

Console & Hollawell P.C. is a personal injury law firm practicing in both Pennsylvania and New Jersey. The firm’s team of experienced Sicklerville car accident attorneys has helped more than 5,000 clients win tens of millions of dollars in compensation for their injuries.

*Insurance Institute for Highway Safety

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