I can’t vouch for the scientific validity of this video showing a staged crash between a 1959 Chevy and a 2009 Chevy, but it’s certainly interesting. I’m old enough to have started driving not too long after 1959, and I shudder to think how dangerous those cars were compared to today’s. Some of the safety improvements would have been added simply through technological advances, but many, if not most, were accelerated by lawsuits against auto manufacturers. When safer technology is available but not used simply to cut costs, manufacturers lose lawsuits. In that way, plaintiff lawyers have made driving safer for all of us.
In 1971, when I started practicing personal injury law, it was common to see clients who had been thrown through windshields, or who had at least cracked their heads on windshields or dashboards. Today, that is rare, thanks to head rests, safety belts, air bags, collapsible steering columns, and many more such improvements. The injuries we see now are much less severe than in the old days, and we’re all better off for that.