Ah, somehow this isn’t even a surprise: the U.S. government commissioned the creation of a car far safer than those offered by auto companies, and then covered it up. From Jalopnik:
Thirty-five years ago, the U.S. government built a fleet of cars that were safer than anything on the road. Twenty-five years ago, the government shredded them in secret. Two escaped the crusher. This is their story.
For a piece of American-built iron from the depths of the Carter administration, the 14 Minicar Research Safety Vehicles had a massive amount of technology. The fender and front fascia were plastic composites that could take a 10-mph smack unscathed. Under the plastic body of the most advanced version were run-flat tires, anti-lock brakes with crash-sensing radar and dual-stage airbags.
Test drives scored about 32 miles to the gallon, but test crashes suggested passengers might walk away from most crashes up to 50 mph with minimal injuries. NHTSA officials claimed thousands of lives a year could be saved if Minicar tech became standard.