Though many car commercials talk about the positive impact of things like anti-lock braking systems and airbags, one research team does not think that they are helping as much as some would have you believe. This team, working out of Purdue University, says that injury numbers do not always fall when safety devices are used, but that they may actually rise thanks to these devices.
The team looked at data that covered five years. At the end of the study, they claimed that these specific safety devices neither reduced the amount of accidents nor reduced the amount of injuries.
However, rather than point to the way that the airbags malfunctioned or other such issues, the team instead attributed rising injury numbers to the drivers. They said that drivers drove recklessly or dangerously more often in vehicles that had been outfitted with advanced safety devices. Without proper caution, they were involved in more crashes and injured more often, offsetting any benefits that the devices could provide.
The team even had a name for this issue, calling it "offset hypotheses."
The study did use older data from 1992, but the team felt that this was the best time to look at since airbags were really gaining popularity, so they could look at driving records for the same individuals when they had the safety devices and when they did not, looking for any changes in driving habits, accidents and injuries.
Have you been hurt in a car accident despite the safety devices in your vehicle? After an injury, it is important to look into all of your legal rights.
Source: Wards Auto, "Researchers Question Safety Contribution of Airbags, ABS" Herb Shuldiner, accessed Feb. 09, 2015