Last August, Adrian Lund, former president of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, set off from his northern Virginia residence traveling south to Savannah, Georgia in his 2020 BMW 540i, which happens to be a 2020 IIHS Top Safety Pick. Approximately fifteen miles into his journey, Lund was involved in an offset head-on collision with another vehicle traveling in the wrong direction by driving north in southbound lanes.
The collision between the two vehicles occurred when the 5 Series was traveling at approximately 60 to 65 mph and the other vehicle was going roughly 50, and resulted in Lund’s G30 5 Series bearing the brunt of the impact on the front end before rolling over, leaving Lund suspended by his then tensioned seatbelt. Not immediately aware of what happened, Lund remembers being addressed by emergency response personnel and feeling thankful he could see their faces.
Adrian Lund spent more than 30 years at IIHS, the last twenty of which were largely concerned with making vehicles safer. In a recent video from IIHS featuring Lund, who served as president from 2006 until 2017, the crash survivor says, “This was a high-speed crash, one that probably ten years ago, I wouldn’t be here to talk to you about.” The video description goes on to mention Lund likely owing his life to the improvements he was responsible for helping introduce.
One look at Lund’s former 5 Series makes it clear just how serious the wreck was, and how the driver was lucky to walk away with only minor injuries. The front end of the 540i is almost unrecognizable, having absorbed the brunt of the impact, but the passenger compartment, although a bit of a mess thanks to the airbags, did its job of protecting the occupants and isolating them from intrusion as best as possible.
“In the end, it’s all about one thing—providing vehicle occupants with the best possible protection in the event of an actual crash. IIHS has also been pursuing the same goal for decades. By setting requirements and performing tests derived from real-world crashes, they have been instrumental in driving vehicle safety,” explained Dominik Schuster, vice president of vehicle safety at BMW. “Ultimately, the crash Adrian Lund had with his BMW 540i is a powerful example of how the interaction between consumer protection organizations like IIHS and automakers saves lives on the road.”
The other vehicle that was involved in the crash was a 2016 BMW 228i, which also performed well in the IIHS evaluation for its year. Unfortunately, the driver of the 2 Series was not wearing their seatbelt and was thus ejected from the vehicle, and the car hit the dividing barrier after impacting with Lund’s 5 Series. The IIHS release also says, “the midsize 2 series was at a disadvantage in a crash with the 5 series, a large car,” perhaps proving something many of us have long suspected about bigger being better in terms of safety in some instances.—Alex Tock
[Photo courtesy BMW AG. Video courtesy IIHS.]