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The odds of a fatal car crash increases with age of vehicle

The probability of a driver fatality resulting from an automobile accident can be 71 percent higher when the vehicle is 18 years old or older, according to a National Highway Transportation Safety Administration research study. This statistic may be startling but valuable information for West Virginia parents looking to purchase the first vehicle for a newly-licensed teenage driver.

In a 2013 research study, NHTSA compared fatal crashes involving vehicles 18 years or older with crashes involving cars three years old or newer. While the risk was 71 percent higher for drivers of cars older than 18 years, it declined progressively with the newness of the car.

The NHTSA study made adjustment for numerous variables including the time of day when the crash occurred, road conditions, driver age and alcohol impairment. The one variable that proved beneficial for drivers of cars of all ages was the wearing of seat belts. Drivers who wore seat belts had higher survival rates regardless of the age of the car, with better odds in newer cars.

Most "newness benefits" went away in crashes where the driver was not wearing a seat belt, however. When belted, the odds of a driver dying in a crash fell from 46 percent for older cars to 26 percent in newer ones. When the driver was not wearing a seat belt, the drop was only from 78 to 72 percent.

People who are injured in a car crash may need extensive medical care and rehabilitation, rendering them temporarily or permanently unable to work and earn a living. If it can be demonstrated that the accident was caused by a negligent driver , an attorney could assist an injured victim in seeking appropriate compensation.

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