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Popular SUVs May Fail to Protect Passengers in San Diego Crash

New data reveals that many popular sport-utility vehicles (SUVs) may not properly protect passengers in a San Diego crash. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) recently conducted a new front crash test that simulates what happens when the passenger side of a vehicle crashes into a tree or pole.

The small overlap front crash test was first introduced in 2012. It simulates what would happen when 25 percent of a vehicle's front end on the driver side strikes a rigid barrier at 40 mph. This type of crash focuses the impact force in a small area of the vehicle and often causes the vehicle to spin. By comparison, in standard front impact tests, 40 percent of the car’s front bumper strikes the barrier.

The new crash tests are important because approximately 25 percent of all serious and fatal accidents are attributed to “small overlap” impacts, according to the IIHS. The accidents often result in severe foot and leg injuries when the car’s front wheel is pushed back into passenger compartment.

In the latest round of crash tests, the IIHS conducted 40 mph passenger-side small overlap tests on seven small SUVs with good driver-side small overlap ratings. Only one of the vehicles, the 2016 Hyundai Tucson, performed at a level corresponding to a good rating. The remaining vehicles were rated poor or acceptable.

As highlighted by the IIHS, the test results are important because front passengers are vulnerable in traffic crashes. Approximately 1,600 right-front passengers died in front crashes alone, according to the organization’s 2014 data.

The results have prompted IIHS to consider instituting a passenger-side rating as part of its TOP SAFETY PICK criteria. "This is an important aspect of occupant protection that needs more attention," said Becky Mueller, an IIHS senior research engineer and the lead author of the study.

If you or someone you care about has suffered serious injury in a car accident, don’t hesitate to contact a San Diego injury lawyer at the Law Offices of Robert Vaage for a free consultation. After a serious California crash, we can advocate on your behalf to help hold the negligent parties accountable for their actions and seek the compensation you deserve.