on 05.20.2011 21:51
Electric-car manufacturers are trying to break all the old rules when it comes to powering a vehicle, but they still have to adhere to existing rules when it comes to safety. Two of the latest voltswagens, the Chevy Volt and the Nissan Leaf, are setting the standard for electric-car safety, having earned the highest safety ratings from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety in the first-ever U.S. Crash-test evaluations of plug-in electric cars.
In the same tests used for gasoline-powered cars, the Volt and the Leaf scored the top rating for front, side, rear, and rollover crash protection. They were also winners of Top Safety Pick, thanks to their standard electronic stability control.
"What powers the wheels is different, but the level of safety for the Volt and Leaf is as high as any of our other top crash-test performers," said Joe Nolan, the Institute's chief administrative officer.
"The way an electric or hybrid model earns top crash-test ratings is the same way any other car does," Nolan added. "Its structure must manage crash damage so the occupant compartment stays intact and the safety belts and airbags keep people from hitting hard surfaces in and out of the vehicle."
The Volt and Leaf are the first mainstream electric cars the Institute has tested. Though classified as small cars because of their size, the heavy battery packs put their curb weight closer to midsize and larger cars. Larger, heavier vehicles generally do a better job of protecting people in serious crashes than smaller, lighter ones because both size and weight influence crashworthiness.
Learn more about Highway Safety and Crash Test Organizations.
on 01.29.2011 15:40
Good news keeps rolling for Chrysler, with its revitalized product line making significant advances over its 2010 offerings. The latest proof is the redesigned 2011 Chrysler 300 and Dodge Charger earning the top accolade from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). The new Chrysler 300 and Dodge Charger join five other Chrysler Group vehicles that were named Top Safety Picks by the IIHS in December.
The IIHS put both full-sized sedans through its battery of crash tests and roof-crush test, and these Chrysler Group models performed well. In fact, the Charger withstood a force equal to 5.37-times the car’s weight in the roof-strength test; the federal requirement is 1.5-times the vehicle’s weight. More...
on 12.22.2010 10:59
2013 IIHS Safest Vehicles 2012 IIHS Safest Vehicles
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has named its 2011 Top Safety Pick award winners, counting 40 cars, 25 SUVs, and a single minivan. This list recognizes those vehicles that earn Good ratings in the Institute’s front, side, and rear crash tests; roof strength test; and offer electronic stability control.
The Institute added the roof strength test last year. Initially this challenging new standard significantly limited the number of vehicles that made the cut for Top Safety Pick accolades, but IIHS notes that several automaker reworked current designs to excel and new vehicles have fared better. This goes to show how having a comprehensive test program that differs from the government crash tests is pushing automakers to build safer vehicles.
And for good reason. More than 12,000 people died in frontal crashes of passenger vehicles in 2009 in the United States, more than 6,000 died in side impacts, and more than 8,000 died in rollovers, many of which also involved a front or side impact. Rear-end crashes usually aren't fatal but result in a large proportion of injuries. Neck sprain or strain is the most commonly reported injury in two-thirds of insurance claims for injuries in all kinds of crashes.More...
on 10.05.2010 22:01
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) rolled out an enhanced 5-Star Safety Ratings System today, along with ratings on the first model year 2011 vehicles tested under the program. The new protocol adds side pole crash testing and female crash test dummies, and the resultant information cites available crash prevention-technologies.
In recent years, most new vehicles earned a five-star rating in NHTSA crash tests. Consequently consumers couldn’t readily distinguish between the occupant protection offered by cars, and theoretically there could have been a numbing effect where shoppers didn’t feel it was even necessary to compare test results. This more stringent system yields much different results than the methods used from 1990-2010. Therefore, you’ll note in the ratings below that many cars didn’t earn five-star ratings. Because of the changes, these new ratings are not directly comparable against previous findings.
One of the most significant changes to the ratings program for consumers is the addition of an Overall Vehicle Score for each vehicle tested. This score acts as a summary for quick car-to-car comparisons. It combines the results of a frontal crash test, side crash tests, and rollover resistance tests and compares those results to the average risk of injury and potential for vehicle rollover of other vehicles. More...
on 07.24.2010 02:03
Whether Toyota’s troubles with the Prius, whereby a stuck gas pedal allegedly caused cars to roar off at high speed, were attributable to driver error or to electromechanical failure might never be known for sure. The same is true for Audi’s 5000, which endured a comparable “unintended acceleration” phenomenon back in the 1980s. Even though Audi was eventually absolved, the adverse publicity inflicted considerable damage.
If driver error is the principal reason for such incidents, why are drivers reacting so ineffectively to a sudden burst of unsought speed? Evidently, they don’t know what to do. One curious possibility springs to mind: Perhaps most of today’s drivers have simply rarely—or never—experienced a sudden, serious problem with a vehicle. Maybe recent-model cars are just too close to perfection.
How many motorists on the road today have suffered a sudden tire blowout—the kind that threatens to yank the steering wheel right out of the operator’s hands? How many have ever had a crucial part break suddenly, or a wheel instantly separate from its axle? What about sudden, total loss of brakes? Or, having the power steering disappear, which then demands far more effort to turn the wheel. More...
on 06.09.2010 21:28
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has completed roof-crush testing on several vehicles, providing the data needed to award its coveted Top Safety Picks. To boast the title Top Safety Pick, a vehicle has to that earn a top rating of good for front, side, rollover, and rear crash protection, and have electronic stability control.
Earning this designation are the 2010 Audi A4 and Q5, Ford Flex and Fusion (twins Mercury Milan and Lincoln MKZ), Hyundai Tucson, Lincoln MKT, and Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen. More...