Consumers are focusing increasingly on safety as the deciding factor in their vehicle choices. But how does the car purchaser know which vehicles are the safest? Certainly, Consumer Reports has proven invaluable in this department but for free information it's hard to beat http://www.safercar.gov/

The volume of information can be a little overwhelming but if you want to know about the propensity of a vehicle to rollover or get the latest crash test ratings its hard to beat.  The website features the ability to punch in the year, make and model of a particular car and to see how its safety looks.

The site is also great for checking vehicle recalls and safety defects. There is a mechanism on the site to report motor vehicle safety issues and one can also research such diverse topics as child passenger safety, tire ratings and safety and so-called early warning reporting.

Early warning reporting enables the consumer to search the database to determine what if any safety recalls or investigations are applicable to a particular car.

There is also invaluable information on issues involving van safety particularly concerning fifteen passenger vans which have been involved in a number of particularly deadly crashes. These vehicles have shown themselves to be  susceptible to rollover and tire-failure, resulting in an estimated 58 deaths in 2006.

The National Transportation Safety Administration has made van crash reduction a major emphasis with a special outreach program to fifteen passenger van owners and operators.
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