When I was shopping for a new car, the first thing I did was check the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's (IIHS) Top Safety Picks. I wanted to know which models did well in the IIHS crash tests so I could choose a car that would be safe and reduce my chances of being injured if I were in a Boca Raton car accident.
The IIHS has been ranking vehicles for more than 20 years. The tests have changed over time, but consist of testing for front impact, side impact, rear impact, and roof strength. The latest change in their testing is a result of the fact that more than 10,000 people a year have been killed in head-on car crashes despite the fact that their vehicles were performing well on safety tests. The IIHS investigated and found that nearly 25 percent of fatal head-on accidents involved an impact where only the front corner of the car crashed into an object. These are the kinds of crashes that occur when a driver crashes into a tree, telephone pole, or the front corner of a car going in the opposite direction. These accidents result in serious head, chest, spine, hip, and pelvic injuries because the dynamics of these accidents are very different from those of full-frontal crashes. In order to test vehicles' safety in these types of collisions, the IIHS created a new safety test for frontal-offset crashes.
The small overlap frontal crash test was performed on 11 midsize luxury cars. The IIHS chose these particular cars because more expensive vehicles tend to have the most advanced safety features. They found that many cars that performed well in a full frontal crash test did not do well when only the left front corner collided.
The vehicles were smashed into a barrier at 40 mph. Points were taken off if a door opened, if the side air bag failed to deploy, and if the seat attachments failed. Only two cars rated good. One rated acceptable. The new tests will be part of the IIHS Safety Top Safety Pick rating system for all cars starting in 2013.
What does this mean for the future? Car companies know that consumers are looking for high safety ratings. They will take the test into account when designing future models. To learn more visit the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety website. To learn what to do if you are involved in a head-on accident in Florida, request a free copy of Boca Raton accident attorney David Glatthorn's book, The Florida Accident Workbook: Tools, Tips & Tactics to Resolve Your Injury Claim, or contact David Glatthorn at 866-413-5525.