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Author Topic: Small Car Safety: Are We Kidding Ourselves? Back to Topics
PD

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Message Posted: Sep 20, 2011 3:53:47 PM



When our government goes out of its way to try and convince us that light vehicles are as safe as larger ones, does it make you wonder why they’re so determined to make their point?

You might be surprised, but here’s what I found on a website belonging to the Oak Ridge National Laboratory. (ORNL is a division of the U. S. Dept. of Energy.)The ORNL says it’s a “myth” that lighter cars are less safe than heavier vehicles; the reality is that “new materials can make cars lighter and as safe as heavier vehicles”. Here you can see for yourself what they say:
Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Essentially, the ORNL, and indirectly, the U.S. government, is asking us to believe that light cars are as safe...

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sluggopyle
Champion Author North Carolina

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Message Posted: Sep 24, 2011 3:20:46 AM

Sorry, there's zero logic in that.

Here's the conflation:
=> Accidents do happen and when they do many of us want to survive, maybe even walk away. So Insurance Institute for Highway Safety crash test results are the best predictor of your survival. <=

What you've got there is not a safety test. That's a crash test. A crash test measures the effects of impact, while a safety test, applied to a car, would measure things like cornering, braking, control under skid, steering response etc.
.... Notice what all of those are? Dynamics that relate to *ACTIVE* propulsion and direction of a motorized vehicle. Because that's exactly what driving is. And those parameters can be (and are) measured, at least by those entities who understand what driving is.

On the other hand when you're measuring a crash test you're measuring the amount of punishment a completely *PASSIVE* object can sustain. Even if the object is moving, it's obviously out of control (else there would be no crash), so it's still passive. That's certainly NOT driving; it's being a target. You've assumed the crash has already happened and stripped the driver of any involvement. It's like judging a bicycle not on its weight and aerodynamics and tires, but on how much I can bash it up with this here baseball bat. It's got nothing to do with what the object *does*.

Unless your name is Harry Houdini I'm not clear on why anyone would want to drive a target instead of a car, but that's all you have when you run crash tests and call them safety tests. You might as well be measuring the effects on the poor slob who sits on the seat in an amusement park dunking booth.

Crash tests are an important part of design, but they say nothing about the car as a moving object (and a car is exactly a moving object) --which is a most convenient thing if you're selling Behemoths that handle with the agility of a steamroller, because if you published the results of actual legitimate safety tests, sales would plummet. And that, I suspect, is exactly why we have corporate shills running crash tests and calling them safety tests. That's just dishonest. Especially when such crash tests are held up as the alpha and omega of "safety", while the actual safety tests are never heard from.

Don't worry about me, 412; I've been driving since the Johnson administration, big cars, small cars, trucks, trailers, well over a million miles all over this continent (757 of them today) and I've seen every imaginable and twice as many unimaginable moves by those you've charitably dubbed the "less skilled" (I have a few slightly more colourful terms for them in the moment) and in all those miles I've never been in anything bigger than a fender bender, wheras I've been able to anticipate, negotiate, dance around and slalom through more unforeseen potential ghastly situations than I could recount (although I have a few faves), specifically because I WAS driving a safely designed (read: controllable) car and not a behemoth.

Oh yeah, I drove a few behemoths too. Just enough to get a feel. That's why I got rid of them.

That's why I don't do big: I know better.

[Edited by: sluggopyle at 9/24/2011 3:27:01 AM EST]
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us412
Champion Author Arkansas

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Message Posted: Sep 23, 2011 2:59:56 PM

Accidents do happen and when they do many of us want to survive, maybe even walk away. So Insurance Institute for Highway Safety crash test results are the best predictor of your survival.
Often a technically superior driver in his small, quick cars cause many wrecks even if they are not caught up in the carnage; their wake destabilizes all around them leading to the destruction.
"sluggopyle-Message Posted: Sep 21, 2011 10:53:32 AM", relies on his presumed skill to avoid wrecks and luck that some less skilled driver on the shared roads of America does not impale him.
Arrogance and luck are not what will save your life.

Buy the largest vehicle you can afford.
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us412
Champion Author Arkansas

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Message Posted: Sep 23, 2011 2:59:23 PM

Accidents do happen and when they do many of us want to survive, maybe even walk away. So Insurance Institute for Highway Safety crash test results are the best predictor of your survival.
Often a technically superior driver in his small, quick cars cause many wrecks even if they are not caught up in the carnage; their wake destabilizes all around them leading to the destruction.
"sluggopyle-Message Posted: Sep 21, 2011 10:53:32 AM", relies on his presumed skill to avoid wrecks and luck that some less skilled driver on the shared roads of America does not impale him.
Arrogance and luck are not what will save your life.

Buy the largest vehicle you can afford.
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clpassenubye
Champion Author Los Angeles

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Message Posted: Sep 23, 2011 12:48:08 PM

When its a big car against a small car you can throw safety out the window
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clpassenubye
Champion Author Los Angeles

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Message Posted: Sep 22, 2011 3:54:45 PM

If its a Heavy vehicle hitting a smaller vehicle at a moderate speed I don't care what the smaller vehicle is made of it's not safe.
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tomok
Champion Author Portland

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Message Posted: Sep 21, 2011 11:24:44 PM

I’m hoping we have been ‘slimed’ enough and the ‘slug’ is gone.
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Ghosty1
Champion Author Quebec

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Message Posted: Sep 21, 2011 2:40:06 PM

You have a better chance in a larger vehicle, but in 45 years of driving, I have not been involved in an accident.
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sluggopyle
Champion Author North Carolina

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Message Posted: Sep 21, 2011 10:53:32 AM

No-- most larger cars are larger. And that means LESS safe because more mass means less maneuverability. You can't change the laws of physics by royal fiat.

If you're going to assess safety, then measure safety. That's not what this article is about. These are CRASH tests. Safety means you don't crash in the first place --not that you sit out in the road like a passive chump waiting to see how much you can absorb.

A CRASH test assumes the crash has already happened. And if you're trapped in a typical inverted bathtub Detroit likes to sell, you will. Because you don't have the dexterity to avoid it. So you've just sentenced yourself to impact, hoping you have enough armor to survive it. How smart is that?

Look at it this way: we're coming fast down a hill and suddenly a sharp curve presents. I'm riding a mountain lion, you're riding a hippo, and we're going the same speed. Guess which one of us goes home in the ambulance wondering why they bought the "safety" illusion propagated by a car industry that profits from putting that myth out. I mean this is not rocket science. It's more like centrifugal force science. And this article is nothing more than a cheap propaganda piece for that industry and its myth.

I hope you brought an umbrella, 'cause its raining cold hard facts up in here.



[Edited by: sluggopyle at 9/21/2011 10:54:31 AM EST]
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Ray_10589
Champion Author New York

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Message Posted: Sep 21, 2011 10:11:10 AM

MOST larger cars are safer ...
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lcleveland
Champion Author San Antonio

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Message Posted: Sep 21, 2011 8:45:10 AM

stay with the larger suvs they are safer
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Dr Gas
Champion Author Twin Cities

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Message Posted: Sep 21, 2011 8:32:31 AM

If I DO NOT get into an accident I must have the safest car around!!!!!

Want to know what car I drive?
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Dr Gas
Champion Author Twin Cities

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Message Posted: Sep 21, 2011 8:28:14 AM

Since I drive a motorcyle also, What do you fools have to say about my chances????
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Teeds
Champion Author Dallas

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Message Posted: Sep 21, 2011 6:56:36 AM

Mass always win.
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WestDriver
Champion Author Grand Rapids

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Message Posted: Sep 21, 2011 6:21:59 AM

When I'm in a lighter car and a heavier car (truck) hits me, it doesn't matter a lot what happens to the car; my body, due to inertia will bounce around a lot more than if I were in the larger car. This can be mitigated by expensive crash equipment, but it can only reduce the injury.
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djgunrunner
Champion Author Salt Lake City

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Message Posted: Sep 21, 2011 3:33:06 AM

Might makes Right. Just ask yourself, where does an 800 pound gorilla sleep. That is the same with a truck and a little car. Think of mass.
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hok
Champion Author Los Angeles

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Message Posted: Sep 21, 2011 3:14:25 AM

I believe vehicles do not have to be heavy to be safe.
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sluggopyle
Champion Author North Carolina

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Message Posted: Sep 21, 2011 1:29:13 AM

=> The myth is true though, at least to a degree. Having worked at a tow yard, I saw them first hand come in from accidents. <=

And that shows ---what?

Let's say you're a visitor from Planet Schmanet. You happen to arrive on earth in a war zone at a MASH unit. Shall you then conclude from what you see that the inhabitants of this planet are routinely born bleeding from every orifice with no discernible pattern of limbs? Shall you then conclude that the planet is "unsafe" for said humans?

Of course not, because you didn't see how they got that way. You don't make a picture out of a pixel.

I ran a crash test on this entire article and its mindless premise. It was obliterated. Self-inflicted wounds I'm afraid.


[Edited by: sluggopyle at 9/21/2011 1:38:45 AM EST]
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DellDude2
Champion Author Nashville

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Message Posted: Sep 21, 2011 1:16:46 AM

Technology being equal among vehicles in a crash, the safety cages can only do so much for a little car against a much larger object. The smaller car would probably 'bounce' off the larger one and redirect itself into oncoming traffic and suffer many hits.
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sluggopyle
Champion Author North Carolina

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Message Posted: Sep 21, 2011 1:13:29 AM

=> Still, smaller vehicles are less safe than larger ones. It's a law of physics that isn't easily ignored. <=

Not true at all.
Less mass means less mass. It has nothing in itself to do with "safety".

Claiming you're going to rate cars for safety and then instead analyzing crash tests, is apples and oranges. It's a loaded question, the equivalent of "have you stopped beating your wife?". Equating "car safety" to crash test results assumes the crash MUST happen, and that's simply not the case. It's dishonest. This entire article is dishonest -- complete with the setting up of an adversary strawman link that doesn't go anywhere.

Come on people, this is not that deep. At least listen to the music when you're being played like a cheap banjo.


[Edited by: sluggopyle at 9/21/2011 1:19:06 AM EST]
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LanguageMan1
Champion Author Tampa

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Message Posted: Sep 21, 2011 1:08:27 AM

Interesting. The myth is true though, at least to a degree. Having worked at a tow yard, I saw them first hand come in from accidents. However, the article does point out that the newer lighter materials can make vehicles lighter and safer which is true. Still, smaller vehicles are less safe than larger ones. It's a law of physics that isn't easily ignored.
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singlemom27
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Message Posted: Sep 21, 2011 12:57:24 AM

As long as there are more massive vehicles around, the lighter vehicles won't be safe.
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sluggopyle
Champion Author North Carolina

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Message Posted: Sep 21, 2011 12:53:08 AM

=> Common sense, let alone the laws of physics, (which the ORNL seems to be lacking) <=

I'm fascinated by how you reach this conclusion, since the link in the article doesn't even work and never did...

=> ...indicates that smaller, lighter vehicles provide less crash protection to their occupants than larger, heavier vehicles. <=

Actually what common sense indicates is that the premise is "car safety", yet the reasoning then goes to studies of crash tests, and that's dishonest. With a safe car there's no crash to measure. As for the eventual crash protection anyway, what the laws of physics indicate is actually not what you think.

Here's the actual study the article mentioned but put a dead link to: MYTH: Lighter cars are less safe than heavier vehicles REALITY: New materials can make cars lighter and as safe as heavier vehicles

I still wonder how convenient it is that the original poster takes issue with a study to which the link does not work. That's a monologue. It's a debate with an opponent who's already gagged before the debate starts. One wonders why that's necessary.

(And it's bad postering; I ALWAYS check my links and if they don't work I fix 'em)
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Saturn93
Champion Author Salt Lake City

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Message Posted: Sep 21, 2011 12:38:29 AM

Common sense, let alone the laws of physics, (which the ORNL seems to be lacking) indicates that smaller, lighter vehicles provide less crash protection to their occupants than larger, heavier vehicles.

Perhaps it's all a part of the Obama health care package... the more highway fatalities we have, the fewer medicare and assisted living claims there will be, not to mention the reduction in social security benefit payments.

When are they going to downsize and lighten the presidential limousine? While they are at it, how about making smaller, lighter tanks and armored military vehicles. I'm sure our troops would appreciate the increased mileage between fuel stops.
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trinda1
Champion Author Fort Worth

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Message Posted: Sep 21, 2011 12:35:01 AM

Small cars will get smashed up real bad in an accident.
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alterman156
Champion Author New York

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Message Posted: Sep 21, 2011 12:32:37 AM

Small cars have become much safer through the years.
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moonrocks
Champion Author San Diego

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Message Posted: Sep 21, 2011 12:24:26 AM

It would appear that the government has an agenda that is not user friendly for it's own citizens.
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sluggopyle
Champion Author North Carolina

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Message Posted: Sep 21, 2011 12:19:30 AM

Essex, thanks for that story. It illustrates my point perfectly.

Notice which car (the big one) lost control and which one (the small one) did not. Voilà.

Hope your brother got a more sensible car after that. Mountains are no place for a Hippomobile. That's why I have a small maneuverable car here in these mountains. I wouldn't want it any other way.
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EssexAdri
Champion Author Jacksonville

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Message Posted: Sep 21, 2011 12:13:47 AM

i remember several years ago when riding with my brother in his Blazzer through the mountains and it was drizzling. there was an accident up ahead and everyone ahead of us started stoping for it. my brother started tapping his brakes to slow down and stop, and then he started pumping them for everything he was worth because we were starting to hydroplane. he started honking the horn while he was still pumping the brakes and trying to veer the steering wheel to get some traction on anything to regain control, the car ahead of us noticed and pulled off to get into the median and out of our way, but we still ended up tapping the guy. actually we barely touched him, but you wouldn't know it from the damage to the other guy. the other guy was in a 1 yr old 4-door saturn vs. us in a 7 yr old chevy blazzer. 2/3 of his trunk was either crushed or sheared away and he said that it felt like and earthquake to him and his wife and they had bumps and bruises to prove it, us in the blazzer barely felt that we'd hit anything and the blazzer only suffered a cracked headlight frame.

so the government can take their propoganda and go try to sell it to someone else. i have first-hand experience so i'm not buying their BS.
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bobt2382
Champion Author Texas

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Message Posted: Sep 21, 2011 12:13:46 AM

Cars are safe, drivers not so much!
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oloung1
All-Star Author Florida

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Message Posted: Sep 21, 2011 12:13:09 AM

i have to laugh at the comments made comparing post accident pics to
the safety design of a vehicle. the next time that you are in an accident,
remember this, it doesn't matter what your vehicle looks like, it only
matters what the drivers and occupants look like.

id rather have my vehicle fold up like an accordion rather than have my
face or chest absorb that type of impact. but from the responses that are
on this post, it seems some members appreciate personal deformity over
vehicle damage. to each their own...
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sluggopyle
Champion Author North Carolina

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Message Posted: Sep 21, 2011 12:12:04 AM

"Blinded by science" is a good way to put it. Or more likely, by car companies shilling their gross inverted bathtubs on wheels by funding studies and tests and reports that report what they want reported.

Again and again these so-called "safety" tests and "safety" ratings are not that at all. They are CRASH tests. IMPACT tests. And the question of how a car reacts to a collision is a completely different question from how "safe" that car is. A CRASH test assumes that the crash is not only inevitable, it has already happened. That's just not reality.

A "safe" car handles; a Hippomobile does not. That's why they paint these worst-possible-case scenarios as "safety" ratings. It's propaganda to sell the Hippomobile. Because small doesn't make them as much money. Think about it.

The fact is, the smaller nimble car won't be part of that pileup that the fat one can't avoid. THAT's where safety lives. And the more the unwashed drones continue to obediently buy Hippomobiles, the more out-of-control wackos there are going to be for the rest of us to slalom around.



[Edited by: sluggopyle at 9/21/2011 12:13:43 AM EST]
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Point__man
Champion Author Raleigh

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Message Posted: Sep 21, 2011 12:11:27 AM

OK . . . . I'm convinced . . . . now just convince the other 99.9% and then this may become a reality ;)
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tedjm1
Champion Author New York

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Message Posted: Sep 21, 2011 12:11:01 AM

That would have to be proved. All I know is that small cars always get the worst.
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tampacrvdriver
Champion Author Tampa

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Message Posted: Sep 21, 2011 12:10:10 AM

I like my Honda CRV.
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HEBster
Champion Author Kentucky

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Message Posted: Sep 21, 2011 12:09:29 AM

I'll keep my SUV...
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rxman1
Champion Author Toledo

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Message Posted: Sep 21, 2011 12:06:42 AM

The vehicle with the most lug nuts wins.
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umitb
Champion Author Indianapolis

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Message Posted: Sep 21, 2011 12:06:21 AM

Small cars not safe.
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Bigwaynef
Champion Author South Carolina

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Message Posted: Sep 21, 2011 12:06:05 AM

Yep, Get out quick...
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forteras
Champion Author Kentucky

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Message Posted: Sep 21, 2011 12:05:56 AM

Yeah, SMART?car.
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DeeLA
Champion Author Los Angeles

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Message Posted: Sep 21, 2011 12:05:43 AM

Interesting.
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Toppers
Champion Author Atlanta

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Message Posted: Sep 21, 2011 12:05:35 AM

Dislike...
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GBMAX
Champion Author Phoenix

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Message Posted: Sep 21, 2011 12:03:02 AM

ok
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esquared
Champion Author Oklahoma City

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Message Posted: Sep 21, 2011 12:02:46 AM

Blinded by science?
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wulf2000
Champion Author Miami

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Message Posted: Sep 21, 2011 12:01:30 AM

There is no doubt the government is here to help us.
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HiGramma
Champion Author Michigan

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Message Posted: Sep 20, 2011 11:59:24 PM

compared to the SUV that ran over my aunt & uncle's Ford Focus, they didn't have a chance ... but the driver of the SUV was also severely injured, lost a leg, and maybe her life after being comatose for months (they won't notify us, or post an obituary, on legal advice)
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southrob
Champion Author Tucson

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Message Posted: Sep 20, 2011 11:58:00 PM

I will stick with my gas guzzling suburban
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SBlouch
Champion Author San Antonio

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Message Posted: Sep 20, 2011 11:54:36 PM

I will stay with the lager vehicles. I still do not think smaller cars are safe especially the way people drive today.
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AllGold
Champion Author Lansing

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Message Posted: Sep 20, 2011 11:51:43 PM

So why does that study show large sedans as less safe than midsize cars?
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Holly123
Champion Author Charlotte

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Message Posted: Sep 20, 2011 11:49:19 PM

I'll stick to a larger, heavier car. I don't do small.
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sluggopyle
Champion Author North Carolina

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Message Posted: Sep 20, 2011 11:42:32 PM

=> I don't trust the ORNL. <=

An interesting reasoning, considering it's a dead link.
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