Dr. Adrian Lund credits his 2020 BMW 540i with saving his life. You could also say he saved his life.
There are undoubtedly thousands of people alive and walking around today who otherwise would not be, thanks to Lund. During his 36-year career, the now-retired president of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has been instrumental in changing laws, behaviors and vehicle technology in ways that make the cars we drive and the roads we drive them on much safer. Last week, he told the story of that first-hand experience when he survived a high-speed crash and rollover.
Lund was heading to Savannah, Georgia, and was 15 miles on I-95 from his northern Virginia home last August when another motorist inexplicably turned around and began driving against fluent. Lund estimates he was traveling between 60 and 65 and the other car was doing around 50 when they collided. It was an overlap crash – meaning they met driver side to driver side, the type of crash the IIHS began testing for years ago.
“It was a high-speed accident, probably 10 years ago, I wouldn’t be here to tell you about it,” Lund said.
The crash caused his BMW to spin, then flip over.
Lund’s 540i was an IIHS Top Safety Pick of 2020 and earned “good” ratings in all crash tests, including low overlap and roof strength tests.
Lund was left hanging in his seat belt in the overturned car until rescuers arrived to extract him, but as he lay there he noticed there was plenty of space left in the floor of the driver for his legs and feet, an area that can see intrusion in an overlap accident. “It occurred to me that yes, this is what we were looking for. There is room here.
He was not without injuries. He left with cuts and bruises, a probable concussion and neck pain that lasted for months. But he survived.
The woman driving the other car, however, did not. She also drove a BMW, a 2016 228i, and that model also performed well in IIHS crash tests. However, she was not wearing her seat belt. She was ejected from the vehicle and died instantly. Had she been belted, she might still have been seriously injured or killed, as the toy car hit a Jersey barrier.
The IIHS quoted Dominik Schuster, vice president of vehicle safety at BMW:
“At the end of the day, it’s about one thing: providing vehicle occupants with the best possible protection in the event of a real crash,” Schuster said. “The IIHS has also been pursuing the same goal for decades. By establishing requirements and performing tests derived from real accidents, they have been instrumental in driving vehicle safety. Ultimately, the accident Adrian Lund had with his BMW 540i is a powerful example of how the interaction between consumer protection organizations like the IIHS and automakers saves lives on the road. .
Lund cites luck in his walkoff quote. But it’s also years of science – he made his own luck:
“In an accident like this, you don’t come out unscathed,” Lund said. “Given the crash I was in, that I had a frontal, followed by a rollover – yes, I’m pretty lucky. The car did its job.”