People will sometimes claim that older vehicles are safer than newer ones because vintage vehicles were heavier and seemed to be sturdier. This train of thought might lead to serious safety problems because it has been proven that people are safer in newer cars and trucks.

Safety improvements have been steady in vehicles since the 1960s, but they have improved considerably since the 1990s. The changes mean that even cars made at the end of last century don’t compare to the ones made in recent years if you are looking at them from a safety standpoint.

More than a decade old, on average

On average, cars on the roads today are around 11 years old. Of course, this encompasses a wide range of year models that range from this year’s model to some that are much older, classic models. Sadly, this means that many people on the road are at risk of being injured in an accident.

Bumper standards upgraded

One of the most common accidents that occurs these days is the rear end crash. If you are driving a vehicle that was made in the 1960s, you could be in big trouble. It wasn’t until the year model 1973 that auto manufactures had to deal with any type of safety standard for bumpers. Before then, there wasn’t any requirement.

With the passage of a law that went into effect for all year models starting then, the rear bumper of a passenger car had to be able to absorb an impact that occurred at 2.5 miles per hour and the front bumper had to withstand a 5 mile per hour impact. The standard was updated again starting with 1983 models to improve the safety of vehicles.

Automaker emphasis wasn’t on safety

The primary emphasis for automakers in the past wasn’t safety. Instead, they were concerned with making fuel efficient vehicles that were affordable. This was an honorable feat, but it came at the cost of safety since there weren’t any hard and fast laws to govern these vehicles.

Now, automakers and government entities realize that safety had to be brought into the equation. One study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that adults are 71 percent more likely to die in a vehicle that is three years old than a vehicle from the current year model. This fact alone shows just how much safety standards have improved and why many people are choosing to purchase new cars rather than looking for older ones.