Automotive safety has made huge strides over the past decade thanks to improved materials and major upgrades in driver assistance technology. However, there's still a limit to what a vehicle can take. In this clip for France, watch a BMW 5 Series Touring going 93 miles per hour (150 kilometers per hour) strike a concrete wall. The damage is astounding.
The BMW builds up speed down the runway. Then, it strikes the wall, and the body crumples. The rear end tips upward, causing the hatch to be level with the top of the obstacle. According to a sensor, the car experienced 64G of force during the impact.
It's hard to imagine a front passenger surviving a crash like this because there doesn't seem to be anything left of the car's nose. While the rear section of the wagon is at least identifiable, living through the collision back there doesn't seem much more likely.
For reference, a speed of 93 mph is more than double the velocity that safety agencies use when evaluating automobiles. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety sends a vehicle going 40 mph (64 kph) at an obstacle. NHTSA's New Car Assessment Program cuts this to 35 mph (56 kph) for the frontal collision test.
Traffic fatalities remain a major concern in the United States. From January through June 2022, 20,175 people died in motor vehicle traffic crashes, according to NHTSA's fatality estimate report. This is roughly 0.5 percent higher than the first half of 2021. It's also the highest number of deaths since the first half of 2006.
The numbers weren't all bad, though. Looking at just Q2 of 2022, it was the first quarter in the last seven to have a decline in fatalities.
Plus, the death rate from January through June 2022 fell to 1.27 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles traveled. This was down from 1.3 in the first half of 2021.