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Last updated on: 19th of September 2014 at 4:52 pm (EST)

IIHS


Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) 

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     The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety is an independent, nonprofit organization, subsidized by approximately one hundred insurance companies. It is dedicated to reducing deaths, injuries­­, and property damage from automobile accidents on the nation’s highways.  

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     The independent evaluations of this organization include crash testing of vehicles in their own laboratory. When you see crash test summaries on the TV evening news it is usually Brian O’Neil, the president of IIHS, showing video of a significant crash test result. The Insurance Institute promotes vehicle safety through development of their own types of tests and independent analysis of traffic fatality data.  

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     Since 1995 IIHS has been conducting its own crash tests. IIHS frontal crash test is different than NHTSA’s since only 40% of the front surface of the vehicle is impacted. This “offset” frontal test is conducted at 40 mph, compared with the 35 mph NHTSA test.  

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     In 2003, IIHS added side impact testing, but again with differences to NHTSA’s test. IIHS’s test was designed to simulate a larger vehicle (such as an SUV) impacting the test vehicle, since a large percentage of vehicles on the road today are SUVs and pickups. IIHS’s side impact test is conducted at 31 mph vs. NHTSA’s test at 38.5 mph. Also, unlike NHTSA’s side impact test, IIHS’s test evaluation includes the risk of head injuries. Head injuries are becoming increasingly prevalent due to the mismatch in heights between passenger cars and SUVs. Often, when an SUV crashes into a passenger car, the impact point is near the occupant’s head of the passenger car. The results of all crash testing performed by IIHS are published on their website[1].

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     IIHS focuses its testing on the most popular vehicles, and many of the same vehicles tested by NHTSA are also tested by IIHS. Both organizations advise that the information they present complement each other’s. This website uses both sets of ratings to assess safety.   

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     IIHS and NHTSA are powerful resources, enabling you to obtain safety crash test results for of hundreds of popular vehicles, with just a few clicks.  If you simply want to look-up the ratings for a particular model, this is easily accomplished since both NHTSA and IIHS websites are user-friendly. Note, however, that if you want to compare vehicles, or navigate the websites, the sheer volume of information, consisting of literally tens of thousands of pages of data and reports, can be overwhelming unless considerable time is invested. Also, note that the two organizations use different vehicle classification systems, making it awkward to browse through the ratings to comparison shop within corresponding vehicle groups. 

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Contact IIHS at: 1005 N. Glebe Road, Suite 800 | Arlington, VA 22201 USA | tel 703/247-1500 | fax 703/247-1588
[1] IIHS's website: http://www.HighwaySafety.com

 

 


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Every effort has been made to be accurate and objective, however all information is subject to errors and omissions.

Informed For Life  is a Connecticut nonprofit organization
http://www.informedforlife.org

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