Did Your Vehicle Earn An IIHS Safety Distinction?

car_repairSince several new vehicle models have excellent crash protection, the IIHS (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety) decided to award more than 10 vehicles with the Top Safety Pick+ distinction. Each of the vehicles they chose have good ratings in the small overlap test, and the cars rank highly on all other IIHS tests. The winners for the year include the following:

– Acura TL
– Chrysler 200/Dodge Avenger
– Honda Accord
– Ford Fusion
– Kia Optima
– Subaru Legacy/Outback
– Volvo S60
– Suzuki Kizashi
– Nissan Altima
– Volkswagen Passat

Evaluation experts at IIHS evaluated almost 30 different vehicles with their frontal crash test and several other tests. In the IIHS’ system, cars are rated between good and poor. To arrive at a final rating decision, experts test the cars using both a small and moderate overlap frontal crash test. In addition to this, side impact, rollover, head restraints and seat restraints are tested. Vehicles that qualify for a Top Safety Pick+ award must pass four of five tests with acceptable or good ratings. There is also a distinction just below the Top Safety Pick+ award, which is the regular Top Safety Pick award. This distinction was given to more than 110 vehicles. To qualify for this distinction, vehicles must offer excellent protection to occupants during crashes.

The small overlap test was introduced in 2012 to increase occupant crash protection. This test was formed to mimic situations where the front corners of vehicles collide with objects or other vehicles. For the small overlap test, one-fourth of the vehicle’s front hood is struck with an object at a force of 40 mph. The dummy driver represents a male in the 50th percentile. Although many manufacturers produce vehicles that show good performance in IIHS moderate overlap testing, there are still many that have not yet considered small overlap crash testing. Since these types of crashes accounted for almost 25 percent of all fatal vehicle accidents in 2009, it is certainly an area that should be of concern to automakers.

In the past, auto manufacturers have taken swift steps to accommodate IIHS’ evaluation changes. Since the organization provides information about planned changes beforehand, automakers have plenty of time to make adjustments. Some manufacturers have changed their airbag control modules and have even made structural changes to excel in the IIHS’ new evaluation methods. Since the IIHS first issued a Top Safety Pick award in 2006, it has altered its criteria two times. To learn more about safe vehicles and how they affect insurance rates, discuss concerns with an agent.

About Brian Hendricks

Brian Hendricks is the President of Fidelity Insurance Group. Brian started Fidelity in 2003 with 0 clients. Today Fidelity Insurance Group is a Premier Independent Insurance Agency in Florida with over 3,000 families and businesses insured. Brian currently serves on advisory boards for 2 of the largest property insurance companies in Florida. Knowlege, Integrity, and Committment are his and his agency's guiding principles.
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