Since the release of the first smart cars back in 2008, there have been many conflicting reports on how safe or unsafe they are when it comes to collisions. Of course safety ratings for every brand changes, as not all are made in the same ways.
The Smart Fortwo car, for example, appears to have good safety and overall ratings, as many have given it satisfactory reviews which assert that it was certainly built with safety in mind. It scores a “good” on roof strength, side impact, and moderate overlap front test results for highway safety ratings. Though the vehicle is hardly larger than a golf cart, it boasts many standard vehicle safety capabilities that solidify it’s categorization as a highway ready car, such as a structure similar to that of a race car roll cage, 8 different airbags including side airbags, anti-lock brakes, stability control and traction control. In a review from Business Insider, in which the author cites reasons not to buy a smart car, safety isn’t a factor, but rather issues with jerky transmission.
A few benefits that follow using these cars and the may make the acceptable ratings a factor of low concern for certain consumers. For example, some otherwise high tech smart cars don’t have a rear-view camera or blind spot sensors; however their structure typically results in excellent visibility in smart cars. Particularly for urban drivers, the high fuel efficiency and small size make city driving and commuting cheaper, both in terms of low gas costs and easy parking.
Any who are still uncertain about the safety of smart cars should note: The NYPD just acquired 9 smart cars in a pilot program to test their reliability and usefulness for the police force.
Lastly, as the New York Times suggests, the least safe component of a smart car is a component that happens to be the shared least safe component of all other cars: the driver.