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CNET On Cars: Smarter driver: Are older cars more dangerous?

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CNET On Cars: Smarter driver: Are older cars more dangerous?

2:48 /

Brian Cooley tells you why the age of your car can be a risk factor in staying safe on the road.

[MUSIC] There are many factors impacting your safety in car. Speed, [NOISE] intoxication, weather conditions and less often discussed, the age of your car. You have less control over that of course. It's a lot easier to slow down or not have that drink than to go buy a new car. But knowing the risks of an older vehicle is important. Data from NHTSA's Fatality Analysis Reporting System for the years 2005-2011 found that the older the car you're in during a crash, the more likely it is you'll come out dead. Compared to a baseline new car that is 0-3 years old,. You are ten percent more likely to die in a car that is just four to seven years old. All the way up to a sobering seventy-one percent more likely in a car that is eighteen years or older. My wagon is twenty-five years old. Better believe I pay attention on the road and slow the hell down. By the way, research data also shows that this affects the likelihood of teens to be in a fatal car accident because they tend to buy and use. Choose older, more affordable cars. Also know that being buckled up in a newer car is more effective than being buckled up in an older car. In a newer car, you see belts, airbags, structural improvements, and more, all work together as a system, not a bunch of little islands. The list of innovations that make newer cars safer is long. But here's some of the greatest hits. Electronic stability control, required on cars since the 2012 model year. A rock star technology, reducing fatal rollovers by 70 percent. And all fatalities by 14 percent in cars, double that in SUV. Intelligent airbags, and lots of them. Only since 2006 have cars been required to use air bags that factor in size, weight, and position of the occupant to blow better on impact with less collateral damage. And in the last ten years, auto makers have been on a bit of an arms race to have more bags than the other guy. ABS, still not legally required on cars in the US. But I haven't seen a new car without it since about 2012. Improved rollover standards. Rollovers account for just 3% of all serious crashes, but about 30% of people killed in cars. The latest update to roof crush standards came in 2009 for full phase in between 2012 and 2017. And of course, there are the new tech innovations like adaptive headlights, front collision, blind spot and lane departure tech. And night vision screens along with head-up displays. So unless you're lucky enough to be buying a new car every three years, it pays to double check the shortcomings of your aging one. And drive safely either way. [MUSIC]

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