Frequently Asked Question

I have a question regarding a specific crash-test

- Questions about specific tests need to be addressed to the respective testing agencies which are listed below, not us. Keep in mind that SmartMotorist.com only reports on other agencies test results. We don't do any testing ourselves, so we can't legally answer any questions about those tests.

Agencies that crash-test vehicles include the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI), the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), the European New Car Assessment Program (EuroNCAP), the Australian New Care Assessment Program (ANCAP), and the Japanese National Organization For Automotive Safety and Victim's Aid.

For detailed information on offset crash tests please read these research papers by safety expert Michael Paine: 1. Consumer Crash Tests: The Elusive Best Practice 2. Offset Crash Tests 3. Guidelines for Crashworthiness Rating Systems


Why my submitted comments yet not visible?

We welcome your comments regarding any article. Please note that we manually review all submitted comments and it takes some time to visible your comments. It is necessary to fight against spam.
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Can SmartMotorist.com send me a detailed report on a specific vehicle I may be interested in purchasing?

No - we are a non-profit privately funded organization and do not have the resources. Such requests will go un-answered.


Can I buy DVD's or videos of crash-tests from SmartMotorist.com?

No - we don't perform any tests and consequently don't have rights to any crash footage. Try contacting the NCAP agencies or insurance groups listed on our links page, as they are the ones who do the testing and may have products available. Such requests will go un-answered.


Can SmartMotorist.com assist me with my research project or school assignment?

No - we are a non-profit privately funded organization and do not have the resources. However we do allow students and researchers to reprint our explanations and data providing they give us credit.


Two vehicles I'm interested in received the same crash-test ratings, can you tell me which vehicle is safer?

No - we are a non-profit privately funded organization and do not have the resources. Such requests will go un-answered.


Can I link my website to SmartMotorist.com?

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Can I use SmartMotorist.com articles on my commercial website?

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Can SmartMotorist.com recommend a specific vehicle for me?

No - we are a non-profit privately funded organization and do not have the resources. Such requests will go un-answered.


Will SmartMotorist.com help me with an insurance claim or lawsuit?

No - we are a non-profit privately funded organization and do not have the resources. Such requests will go un-answered.


Why does SmartMotorist.com accept advertising?

Although we are a non-profit organization, we would be unable to continue without the revenue generated by advertising through google adsense.


Do airbags make a vehicle safer?

Airbags have substantially increased the safety of modern automobiles, but 13 years ago only Mercedes-Benz offered them as standard equipment on every model. Volvo, Saab, BMW, and Audi soon followed Mercedes' lead but American and Japanese manufacturers took quite a long time (1998) to introduce them as standard equipment on every US model automobile (1999 for SUVs, trucks, and vans). Front airbags deploy instantly in a full-width frontal or frontal offset crash at speeds as slow as 10 mph in order to prevent front-seat occupants from hitting the dashboard, steering wheel, or windshield. They are not designed to secure occupants in rear-end, roll-over, or side-impact collisions. Again the European manufacturers have taken the lead in safety and offer side impact airbags in most models sold in the US. Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and Volvo now include a third type of airbag just for your head.


Why do some companies charge extra for side airbags and head/side curtain airbags?

The greedy manufacturers have found that some consumers are willing to pay extra for safety. Those manufacturers that participate in this practice should be ashamed of themselves, trying to charge extra for devices that save lives!


Why aren't side airbags and head/side curtain airbags standard?

Because the manufacturers aren't required by NHTSA to include them as standard equipment, they don't. Although testing and research done in the 1980s and 1990s clearly shows that side airbags and head/side curtain airbags could save thousands of lives, the US Federal Government continues to drag their feet. History shows that it takes NHTSA ten years or longer to mandate life saving technology. Although they're not mandatory we do not recommend that anyone purchase a vehicle without side or head airbags, no matter what its rating.


Is there a fee for obtaining SmartMotorist.com safety information?

Unlike other sites such as Consumer Reports which charge a monthly membership fee, SmartMotorist.com offers all of our information at no charge to the consumer.


Does the weight of a vehicle affect its safety rating?

Keep in mind the overall safety ratings are only comparable between vehicles of a similar weight class and model year. If two vehicles with the same NHTSA full-width frontal rating crash into each other head on, but one vehicle weighs twice as much as the other, the occupants of the lighter one are eight times more likely to be killed than the occupants of the heavier vehicle. Vehicles weighing under 2300 lbs/1045 kgs earn a Poor weight class rating. Vehicles weighing between 2300 lbs/1045 kgs and 2599 lbs/1180 kgs earn a Marginal rating. Vehicles weighing between 2600 lbs/1181 kgs and 2999 lbs/1362 kgs earn an Acceptable rating, while vehicles with a weight between 3000 lbs/ 1363 kgs and 3499 lbs/1589 kgs receive a Good rating. All vehicles with a weight of 3500 lbs/1590 kgs or more are awarded an excellent weight class rating.


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