They’re not all that independent, though. They just have a different special interest to follow. They aren’t interested in design compromises - they just want the “safest car possible” to reduce their insurance payouts.
Well, here’s the thing – we could get some Formula 1 engineers together and have them make us a road car that would survive a head-on with a semi. After all, they do the equivalent every day with the race cars - those things can often hit the wall at 200 mph and the driver only gets hurt when he bangs his fist on the wheel to vent his frustration. And that’s in a much smaller car with an open cockpit.
But then your Chevy Malibu would cost about 20 million dollars.
It’s all about tradeoffs. Frankly I think cars have gotten to the point where they’re safe enough from a structural standpoint. If we want to enhance vehicle safety further, we should demand more intensive driver training and testing, and insist that drivers be retested periodically to make sure they haven’t picked up dangerous habits. And drivers caught texting and driving should spend some time in jail, because the current system of occasionally fining them isn’t working, and they’re killing people.
Banning giant SUVs wouldn’t hurt either.
But interestingly, you’ll often find that the people who get all twisted that a vehicle didn’t pass an insurance industry crash test will also get all twisted if you suggest that they have to learn how to drive well before getting a license, or that they should have to continuously prove that they still know how to drive throughout their driving career, or that people shouldn’t be driving 19 foot behemoths as daily drivers.
So they want safety, as long as they don’t have to do anything about it themselves, which is honestly kind of stupid.