I have previously written about the challenges car makers are faced when designing new vehicles. Often decisions are being made whether to design a vehicle that is crash-worthy or something that is fuel efficient and more environmental friendly. Apparently manly area school districts have been faced with the same delimma when choosing their cars for driver education classes. According to a report from the Chicago Tribune, several local school districts are choosing cars that have poor cash ratings because they are cheaper and more fuel efficient.
The study, which was done by the Tribune along with Cars.com, revealed that the more affluent your school district the safer your drivers ed vehicle will be. The study also showed that the Illinois does not track the type of cars being used nor are there any safety rules or regulations. The Tribune filed 60 Freedom of Information Act requests to get the year, make and model of driver’s ed cars. The newspaper then compiled the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety crash test ratings for each car used in 2010 and 2011 and pressed districts for specifics about their cars. Some districts — particularly those that leased their cars from area dealers — did not maintain comprehensive records. The study also revealed that districts often place cost and fuel efficiency above crash test ratings and vehicle size — factors that experts consider when judging a car’s safety.
The Chicago Public School District said that the oldest vehicle they use is a 1990 Dodge Shadow. Almost half the cars are pre-2000 Plymouth Breezes, Neons and Chevy Cavaliers, which garnered poor highway safety institute ratings. The school district in Will County also uses many older and more fuel efficient vehicles that do not have a very good crash worthiness rating. On the other hand, schools in the North Suburbs use much bigger and newer vehicles such as muscle type sport cars for their drivers ed classes. These vehicles all have a higher crash ratings.
There is no easy answer to this problem. It is well documented that CPS is cash strapped and their driver’s ed vehicle fleet is probably not a top priority to spend money. Is this putting CPS students at a higher risk than students in wealthier districts? Is it fair for a child that grows up in a poorer neighborhood (through no choice of their own) be subjected to a vehicle that is less safe? I do not think so. Yet, like I said, there are no easy answers. Hopefully a serious car accident is not the cause for change by the state to address this issue.
If you or someone you love has been injured in a Chicago car accident or Chicago truck accident, then call Chicago injury attorney, Aaron Bryant, for a free consultation at 312-588-3384 or go to the firm website at www.blgchicago.com