Older cars more dangerous to drive than newer models

California residents may love driving new cars because they're fun, stylish and equipped the latest technology, especially safety features. Some divers might prefer older cars because new cars depreciate greatly in the first year off the lot, making used cars a better bargain. It's these older cars, however, that can be deadlier.

A study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that the risk for car accident fatalities increases as the age of the vehicle increases. Motorists driving cars 18 years or older are 71 percent more likely to die in a car crash than motorists driving vehicles less than 3 years old. The fatality percentage drops as the age of the older car drops. For example, the fatality risk for drivers of cars 4 to 7 years old is only 10 percent higher than for the newest cars. The federal agency adjusted the risk rate for such factors as the age of the driver and blood alcohol content level.

The study also found a significant correlation between fatalities and seat belts regardless of vehicle age. Researchers found that drivers and passengers who don't wear seat belts in newer cars have a 78 percent risk rate of dying in a car accident.

Families of victims who die as a result of a car accident caused by a negligent driver may be eligible for wrongful death compensation for the loss of their loved one. This compensation may include death benefits such as burial expenses and loss of income to survivors. A personal injury attorney may be able to explain this claim as well as claims for other victims of the same accident.

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