In the 50 years since US insurers organized the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, car crashworthiness has improved. Demonstrating this was a crash test conducted on Sept. 9 between a 1959 Chevrolet Bel Air and a 2009 Chevrolet Malibu. In a real-world collision similar to this test, occupants of the new model would fare much better than in the vintage Chevy.
“It was night and day, the difference in occupant protection,” says Institute president Adrian Lund. What this test shows is that automakers don’t build cars like they used to. They build them better.”