It has been known that the toughest testing does not come out of the NHTSA, but rather an agency funded by insurance companies, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. A new IIHS test may shake up how auto manufacturers think about your safety in the future after a new test revealed just a quarter of cars tested by the new 40mph crash test passed.
According to a
Motoramic blog post,
The IIHS crash tests have long been more severe than those used by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. NHTSA's crash tests slam vehicles into a rigid barrier at 35 mph; the IIHS had run vehicles at 40 mph into a softer wall that only strikes the driver's side. It's rare for a new model to get less than three out of five stars in NHTSA tests, and most get good marks on IIHS crashes. The IIHS also requires protection against whiplash in rear crashes as part of its "Top Safety Pick" -- because such injuries were a major cost to insurers. But more than 10,000 people a year still die on U.S. roads from head-on crashes. Based on its analysis of data and crash reports, the IIHS found that a quarter of front-end crashes with injuries or deaths involved vehicles hitting poles, trees and other thin objects. The new IIHS test known as a "small overlap crash" mimics that type of accident by ramming cars at 40 mph into a five-foot-tall barrier that strikes a quarter of the vehicle's width on the driver's side -- a test not required by any U.S. or European safety agency.
So while this new IIHS test isn't going to be a game changer at this moment, it will start to blend in the rating next year, leaving automakers likely scrambling to improve their chassis and improving their score from the new test.
Do you think the IIHS is a credible safety testing agent?