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Driving an older car could increase risk of dying in a crash

As many Georgia motorists are aware, newer model cars come with many safety technologies and could be expected to perform better than older vehicles. But just how much better, with regards to safety, may come as a surprise. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says that someone who drives a car that is 18 years old or older has a 71 percent higher chance of dying in a serious crash than one behind the wheel of a car that is three years old or newer.

The NHTSA published a research paper in August 2013 on how the age of a vehicle relates to the severity of injuries in a crash. The safest cars are from one to three years old, according to the research, while cars from 4 to 7 years old put drivers at a 10 percent higher risk of fatality. That risk jumps to 19 percent for cars that are 8 to 11 years old. But the outlook becomes disturbingly bleak when a car is at least 18 years old. A 50 percent chance for a 15-year-old vehicle jumps to 71 for cars at or over 18 years old.

The research accounted for variables including the age of the drivers, blood alcohol content, speeding, traffic and the time of day. Seat belt use increases the chances of survival after a crash no matter what age the car is; however, seat belts were shown to increase survival odds in newer cars more than they do in older models. Not using a seat belt appears to make driving a newer car a moot point when it comes to safety.

Driving an old car does not make a driver negligent, but driving a car with mechanical flaws could mean that a manufacturer, mechanic or car dealer might be negligent if someone is injured or killed in a car accident. People who have been harmed in such an accident might want to have legal help when attempting to obtain compensation for their losses.

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