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Watch 17 years of car safety tech save one driver’s life, and kill another

Published May 16th, 2017 11:58PM EDT
car safety
Image: ANCAP

Everyone knows that cars have gotten safer over time, or at least we know that the number of safety features which modern cars have has gone from a handful to dozens upon dozens. Despite that, it’s sometimes hard to see real concrete evidence of that fact unless you’ve been in a serious accident yourself — or, even better, an accident in both the 1990s and another one today. Thankfully, this fantastic video showcasing a crash between a 1998 Toyota Corolla and a 2015 Corolla makes the safety advances in car technology abundantly clear, without you needing to risk your own neck.

The test, which was organized and conducted by ANCAP (Autraliasian New Car Assessment Program), sought to point out just how devastating an accident in an outdated vehicle can be for the occupants. Judging by the utter destruction wrought upon the 1998 Corolla, it’s safe to assume the test achieved its goal.

The video sprinkles a few car accident statistics along the way, including the fact that more than 50% of deaths that occur on New Zealand roads, happen in vehicles built before the year 2000. The crash test, in which the 1998 Corolla is flattened by the 2015 model, makes it easy to see how that could be the case.

In the Toyota crash, the 2015 model performs admirably, with front and side airbags that absorb the brunt of the impact, and crumple zones which strategically collapse to take as much of the force out of the crash as possible. The 1998 model, with no airbags of any kind and a front end that flattens like a sponge, causes a tremendous amount of trauma to the driver, who is likely to have died in the accident.