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New overlap crash-test results released on new vehicle models

Crash-test ratings released by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) have historically informed publications like Consumer Reports and have influenced auto buyers as a result. Although the IIHS is not a federal agency, its crash-test results are both respected by motorists and manufacturers alike and are highly-anticipated when new models are released into the marketplace.

Until recently, common car accidents known as overlap crashes were not tested for by either the IIHS or federal authorities. Given the prevalence of overlap crashes and the devastating nature of both property damage and injury that result from this kind of impact, this crash-test oversight was a disservice to the public. However, the IIHS now tests for overlap impact consequences in new models and its initial results were released just a few weeks ago.

Of the 18 midsize family vehicles tested by the IIHS, two 2013 models rated “good” while two rated “poor” and the remaining 14 were categorized as either “acceptable” or “marginal.” In addition, only three of 11 vehicles considered to be either luxury or near-luxury 2013 models earned a good or acceptable rating.

These ratings suggest that auto manufacturers need to pay considerably more attention to the ways in which their vehicles perform in overlap crash scenarios. These frontal-impact crashes can severely injure motorists and passengers alike. Now that the IIHS has demonstrated just how ill-equipped modern vehicles are to perform safely in these kinds of crashes, it is time to revisit the auto design drawing board and make adjustments accordingly.

Source: Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, “Family cars outperform luxury models in rigorous new crash test; strong performance earns 13 midsize cars highest safety accolade,” December 20, 2012

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