bigger is not better

But if we have any intelligence we already knew this.

Researchers at the University of Michigan and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory announced on Wednesday that lightweight, fuel efficient autos are safer for the driving public than the average sport utility vehicle. The study found that SUVs are just about the most dangerous cars on the road for all drivers combined, and that even for the SUV driver alone they are "as risky as the average mid-size or large car, and no safer than many of the most popular compact and subcompact models."

[Tom Wenzel, who co-wrote the report,] said his study indicated that design, rather than size, appeared to be the critical safety factor for vehicles, noting a wide range in risks between different subcompact and compact models.

According to the report the safest small cars, the Volkswagen Jetta and Honda Civic, were shown to be twice as safe as the comparably sized Chevrolet Cavalier, Ford Escort, and Dodge Neon.

Even so, when considering the combined risks to all drivers on the road, most cars are safer than the average SUV, the report said.

"All the evidence in our study shows that vehicles can be, and in fact are being, made lighter and more fuel efficient without sacrificing safety," said Wenzel. "The argument that lowering the weight of cars to achieve high fuel economy has resulted in excess deaths is unfounded."

Let's get Smart.

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Published on August 28, 2002 8:42 PM.

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