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Auto-related deaths and injuries place a stain on society In addition to causing grief and suffering vehicle crashes add billions to the cost of health care and vehicle insurance Buying a safer car can help consumers confidently identify the safest vehicles Each year about 40000 Americans lose their lives in motor vehicle collisions This means that one in 85 drivers are involved in an automobile collision and one out of nine hospital beds are occupied by a victim of an auto-related incident Despite these statistics the rate of traffic deaths per million miles driven is steadily declining Safer cars get partial credit for the encouraging trend Each new model must meet safety standards set by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration As the car-buying public becomes interested in safety manufacturers are offering automotive safety features beyond NHTSAs minimum requirements It however is not yet required by law features such as dual air bags increase a vehicles sale appeal Safety is divided into three categories the size and weight of a vehicle passive safety features that help people stay alive and uninjured in a crash and active safety features that help drivers avoid accidents Larger heavier cars with poor ratings many easily produce better results than smaller cars with good ratings In addition to a car that crashes well passive safety you should look for a car that can avoid a crash altogether active safety Keep in mind that all of this testing was done with test dummies wearing seat belts and shoulder harnesses Without them a 15 mile per hour crash could prove fatal All cars must meet US Department Of Transportation standards for crash-worthiness Larger and heavier cars however are usually safer in a collision than smaller ones In relation to their numbers on the road small cars amount for more than twice as many deaths as large cars If a heavier vehicle collides head-on with a lighter one the lighter vehicle
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