Entries in Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (6)


Smart Car Ad Wows and Underwhelms with Crushing Weight on Top

Courtesy Mercedes-Benz USA(NEW YORK) -- What do you get when you put a 7,000 pound SUV on top of the frame of a sub-2,000 pound two-person Smart car?

Apparently nothing, according to a new ad by the Smart brand of cars.  The ad highlights Smart's "Tridion" safety cell and shows the tiny two-passenger car's frame subjected to the much greater weight of an SUV.

"Small on size, big on safety," states the ad for the car that has been inundating cable channels like CNBC.  The ads seem to suggest that the pint-sized car, less than half the size of America's full-sized sedans, has extraordinary safety features despite its size.

The company said there was no photoshop magic for the ad.

A behind-the-scenes YouTube clip shows a forklift hoisting the Ford Expedition, which weighs 7,000 pounds, on top of the Smart car's frame.  In the ad, the Smart car is unbowed by the weight.

Gabriel Shenhar, senior engineer and program manager with Consumer Reports said the ad provided a "good visual," but there's "nothing unusual" about the Smart car's roof strength.

"There's no significance to that whatsoever," he said.

Smart said its Tridion safety cell "works like the roll-cage in a race car."

"Made largely of high-strength steel, the rigid tridion safety cell is designed to distribute impact energy over the entire width of the car body," the car company states.  The car has eight air bags including two-stage front air bags.

However, Shenhar said "just about every modern car uses high-strength steel in strategic areas to dissipate energy of the crash around the passengers."

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IHHS) gave the Smart car its highest ratings (which is "good") for side impact and roof strength.  It gave the Smart car its second-highest rating, "acceptable," for its rear impact protection.  Its other crash ratings are marginal and poor.

Its strength-to-weight ratio for its roof was 5.4 while the IIHS has a minimum ratio of 4 to garner the highest rating.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


2012 Small Cars: Safer and More Affordable Than Ever

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Small, safe and affordable: That’s the latest trend seen in the 2012 Insurance Institute for Highway Safety top safety picks.

This year’s top selections are vehicles that earned the highest crash-test ratings in four categories; a frontal-offset crash test at 40 mph, a side-impact test that mimics a collision with an SUV or pickup truck, a rollover roof-strength test, and a rear-impact evaluation test, institute spokesman Russ Rader said.

Vehicles are then categorized as good, acceptable, marginal or poor, based on their test performances. Each of this year’s picks was rated “good” in all four categories. The Fiat 500 was among the top-four picks in the mini category.

Of the 29 top-rated mini and small cars, 20 of them cost $20,000 or less. The new numbers indicate continuing demand for safe but affordable small cars, Rader said.

Rader expects such a trend to continue in the future.  “Automakers are really focusing on safety because they know it’s a selling point and they know that consumers are paying attention to safety,” he said. “No automaker wants to be seen as behind the curve in crash-test safety.”

Although compact cars are safer than ever before, “the laws of physics still apply,” Rader warned. “Even though these small cars are top crash-test performers, it doesn’t mean they are just as safe as bigger vehicles with the same rating.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Record Number of Vehicles Score Insurance Institute's Top Safety Pick

Fstop/Photodisc/Getty Images(ARLINGTON, Va.) -- The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) came out with its list of the safest car models for 2012 on Thursday, and a record number of vehicles made the cut.

"In all, 115 vehicles earned the top award and that's up from 66 at the beginning of 2011 and just 27 at the beginning of 2010," said Insurance Institute spokesman Russ Rader.

The 2012 Top Safety Picks include 69 cars, 38 SUVs, five minivans, and three pickups.  Eighteen new models were among the winners, while the remaining 97 were vehicles that received the honor last year.  The award is given to vehicles that score the highest in tests that measure how well drivers are protected in front, side, rollover and rear crashes.

Toyota/Lexus/Scion led the 2012 crop with 15 winners, while General Motors followed with 14.  Volkswagen/Audi claimed 13 spots, and Ford/Lincoln and Honda/Acura both received 12 awards each.


Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


SUVs Statistically Safer than Ever, According to IIHS

Comstock/Thinkstock(ARLINGTON, Va.) -- The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety says that SUVs are now statistically safer than they were in the past and released their list of the safest -- and most dangerous -- SUVs on the market Thursday.

The Institute's research demonstrates that driver death rates have dropped due largely to the widespread availability of electronic stability control systems (ESC), which reduce vehicle rollover rates.

"The rollover risk in SUVs used to outweigh their size/weight advantage, but that's no longer the case, thanks to ESC," Anne McCartt, the Institute's senior vice president for research, said in a statement released Thursday.

The overall driver death rate for 2005-08 models during 2006-09 was 48 per million registered vehicle years.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety is a nonprofit organization that strives to reduce deaths, injuries and property damage due to crashes, according to their website. They take human factors, vehicle factors and environmental factors into account as they study ways to make our nation's roads safer.

Check the lists of 15 safest and 15 most dangerous vehicles below to see where your car falls:

15 safest models on the road, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety:

  • Audi A6 4-door 4WD
  • Mercedes E-Class 4-door 4WD
  • Toyota Sienna
  • Ford Edge
  • Nissan Armada
  • Land Rover Range Rover Sport
  • Land Rover LR3
  • Honda CR-V
  • Jeep Grand Cherokee
  • Acura MDX
  • Mercedes E-Class 4-door
  • Lexus RX 400h
  • Lexus GX 470
  • Mercedes M-Class
  • Saab 9-3 4-door

15 models with highest rates of driver death, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety:

  • Nissan 350Z 2-door
  • Nissan Titan crew cab
  • Chevrolet Aveo
  • Chevrolet Cobalt
  • Nissan Titan extended cab
  • Kia Spectra
  • Chevrolet Malibu Classic
  • Hyundai Tiburon
  • Nissan Versa
  • Chevrolet Colorado extended cab
  • Nissan Titan crew cab
  • Kia Rio
  • Kia Spectra
  • Mazda Miata MX-5
  • Subaru Legacy

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Six More Small Cars Receive Top Safety Award

Fstop/Photodisc/Getty Images(ARLINGTON, Va.) -- The number of small cars that have been named Top Safety Picks by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grew to 22 Thursday, when the organization announced the latest vehicles to earn the prize.

After evaluating 13 small cars, the IIHS awarded the top crash-test rating to six models: the 2012 Ford Focus and Honda Civic, the 2011 Hyundai Elantra, Lexus CT 200h, Nissan Juke, and Toyota Prius.

Dodge Caliber, Honda CR-Z and Insight, Nissan's Sentra and Versa, Scion xD, and Suzuki SX4 were also tested but they were not named Top Safety Picks.

To earn the top honor, cars must receive a rating of "good" in front, side, rollover, and rear impact crash tests, and have available electronic stability control.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Insurance Institute Names Safest Cars for 2011

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(ARLINGTON, Va.) -- Sixty-six vehicles made the cut as the safest models for 2011, according to the latest list released Wednesday by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

The Insurance Institute gave 40 cars, 25 SUVs and a minivan the "Top Safety Pick" award for scoring the highest in tests that measure how well drivers are protected in front, side, rollover and rear crashes.  The vehicles awarded also had to score well on a roof strength test -- a new requirement the Institute enforced last year.

The leading automakers were Hyundai/Kia and Volkswagen/Audi, which each had nine models listed as winners.  General Motors, Ford/Lincoln, and Toyota/Lexus/Scion followed with eight awards apiece.  Subaru, which earned five awards, was the only manufacturer to have a winning model in every class in which it competes.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

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