Would you drive a vehicle if you knew that it hadn’t been crash tested? If you’re like most people across the nation, the answer to this question is probably no. That’s because most people in the United States will not just take a car manufacturer’s word when it comes to safety. We want to see proof that the vehicle we are purchasing, and ultimately driving, has been tested and is safe to operate.
So why is this not the case with certain sports cars such as the Carrera GT? Some of our Pennsylvania readers may recognize this as the vehicle that claimed the lives of actor Paul Walker and his car-racing partner Roger Rodas. Now, Rodas’ widow is holding Volkswagen’s Porsche division responsible for her husband’s death, claiming a suspension system failure ultimately led to the fatal car crash. She also contends that the vehicle lacked necessary safety features that could have prevented the two men’s deaths.
But what’s more alarming about this case is the fact that high-end vehicles, such as the Carrera GT, are not crash tested like other models. As you may know, there are two groups in the United States that do crash safety tests on vehicles: the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Safety ratings are based on how well the vehicle holds up during a crash and the likelihood of serious or fatal injuries to occupants.
But because these agencies only test vehicles that sell in high volumes, consumers must trust a manufacturer’s word when it comes to the safety of other vehicles. And because these agencies pay for the vehicles that they test, the steep price tag of a flashy sports car might outweigh the benefit of giving the vehicle a proper safety rating.
But with Porsche offering two new affordable models and sports cars gaining in popularity, it’s possible that things could change down the road.