Would you sacrifice your life to save a little gas?


World's ugliest car, the Smart Car, just passed some important crash safety tests. I'm not convinced. The itty bitty Barbie-mobile was tested by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, and they say the two-seater is pretty safe.

Well, sort of. There's a little catch with the safety tests, and I bet many consumers aren't even aware of it. The tests are done with cars of similar weights and sizes. They're not done to compare lightweight and heavyweight vehicles.

And that, my friends, is a big problem. Sure, a Smart Car might test very well when smacked by an equally puny Smart Car. It's not going to do well when hit by a Yukon or a Caravan. Imagine the damage a regular-sized vehicle would inflict on a Smart Car!

When I first heard that this gas-saving vehicle did well in safety tests, I thought maybe I should start looking into purchasing one. After all, who wouldn't like to get 41 miles per gallon on the highway? But when I found more details on the tests, I realized that my life is worth more than some gas savings. In fact, I'd rather stay home a little more and save gas that way, than ride around in a deathmobile that's a prime target for flattening by an SUV.

Tracy L. Coenen, CPA, MBA, CFE performs fraud examinations and financial investigations for her company Sequence Inc. Forensic Accounting, and is the author of Essentials of Corporate Fraud.