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Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Car safety ratings available with the click of a mouse

Has your client been hurt in a car crash? Are you wondering who is to blame? Maybe the auto maker contributed to the injury by negligently designing the vehicle. But where, oh where, can you go to find out how safe your client's car really is?

Fear not! The Web has an easy answer for you. There is a website you can go to to determine how various vehicles perform in crash tests. (You can reach the site -- which is run by the venerable Consumer Reports -- by clicking here. The site includes interior and exterior videos of the selected vehicle crashing during a test so you can witness the damage first hand. (Warning: some crash-test dummies were hurt to make these videos).

For example, I tried a 2007 Saturn Ion and found out that, in the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's crash-test results, it received an "acceptable" rating for frontal offset. However, it was rated "poor" for side impact -- regardless of whether the car was equipped with optional side airbags. Hmmm. Makes me wonder what you are paying for when you shell out all that extra money for side airbags.

In any event, whether you are trying to decide if you should file a product-liability action or just looking for a safe new family vehicle, the site is worth checking out.

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