The High Cost of Low Speed Collisions

March 22nd, 2007 |
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How well do your bumpers protect your car in a low-speed collision, like the kind that happen in commuter traffic or parking lots? Acording to Russ Rader of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, for 17 mid-size cars in a new series of crash tests at 3 mph and 6 mph, the results were surprising, and expensive. Intended to measure how much crash damage happens because cars don’t have bumpers that can withstand what should be minor fender benders, some midsize cars sustained $4,500 in repairs. It seems a lot of the damage happens because of over- or undersliding, where bumpers slide under or over the bumper they’re hitting. This is especially a problem when cars and SUVs collid. Cars were once required to have bumpers that could withstand a 5 mph hit, but that rule was rolled back under the Reagan Administration. The IIHS also tested a 1981 Ford Escort that met the old standard to show that it could handle the new bumper tests with little or no damage.

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