How Plastic Car Parts Make Our Vehicles Safer

Here's an interesting statistic: plastic makes up more than 50% of a modern car's body and parts, yet accounts for only around 10% of its weight. Knowing that over half of your car is most likely made of plastic components might be disconcerting at first, but in actuality, plastic is a big reason why modern cars are so safe. There are several key plastic car parts that help protect drivers and passengers in the event of an accident, making the roads safer for everyone, every day.


Rather than just fabric, seatbelts are made of polyester fibers. The durable blend of fabric and plastic helps hold drivers and passengers securely in place during standard travel and protects them better than older seatbelt models against frontal crashes. In fact, modern plastic-blend seatbelts and airbags have helped reduce the fatality of direct frontal collisions by nearly 30%.

Crumple Zones

Typically located in the front of the vehicle, crumple zones are areas on a vehicle's body that can fold up like an accordion to absorb impact and help cushion passengers in the event of an accident. Automobile plastic parts are partially responsible for this incredible, life-saving ability. The plastic and composite blends that make up the outer body of cars have helped save over 613,500 lives between 1960 and 2012.

Windows & Mirrors

Rather than using ordinary glass in car windows, windshields and mirrors, manufacturers now use plastic blends or laminate glazing. This not only makes it harder for windshields to crack or shatter, but it protects passengers from being cut on sharp edges if an accident occurs. Plastic materials have duller edges than glass, making them less likely to cut, and laminates help keep the windows together so passengers aren't sprayed with shattered pieces.


In cars, plastic is also used as a foam filler in hollow structures like cowls, rocker panels and pillars. This adds greater structural strength to the vehicle, which helps keep passengers safe in a variety of accidents, but especially rollover crashes. While rollover crashes are comparatively rare in the grand scope of accidents, they're the most deadly, accounting for almost 35% of traffic deaths in 2010. Thanks to plastic, drivers have much better chances of survival.

Continue Learning with A&C Plastics

We have a lot more knowledge of automotive plastic, and several other industries, to share with you here at A&C Plastics. Learn more about how plastic car parts are shaping modern vehicles, or contact us with questions about how we can help with your next project.