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News from the Institutes: 2002

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December 10, 2002

5 cars earn 'best pick' in frontal crash test

In recent frontal offset crash tests of new or redesigned small and midsize cars, every vehicle received the top rating of good and earned a "best pick" designation. The tested cars include three small models (2002 Suzuki Aerio, 2003 Toyota Corolla, and 2002 Mini Cooper) and two midsize cars (2003 Honda Accord, an inexpensive model, and the moderately priced 2002 Audi A4).

December 3, 2002

Bumper performance varies among cars

In 5 mph crash tests conducted by IIHS to assess and compare how well car bumpers resist damage in low-speed impacts, the midsize 2002 Audi A4 performed well. Another midsize car, the 2003 Honda Accord, performed reasonably well. Among three small cars tested, only the 2003 Toyota Corolla earned a good rating for bumper performance.

October 22, 2002

Redesigned seats and head restraints reduce whiplash

For a long time, most of the head restraints in passenger vehicles weren't high enough or close enough to the backs of many occupants' heads to provide effective protection against neck injury in rear-end crashes. Now some new designs of seats and head restraints are reducing neck injuries among car occupants involved in rear-end crashes.

July 30, 2002

Older motorcyclists make up bigger chunk of fatalities

Pedestrian and other kinds of deaths in motor vehicle crashes are generally declining, but deaths of motorcyclists have been increasing since 1997. In recent years, the age mix of fatally injured motorcyclists has changed. More of the riders who get killed are in their 40s, 50s, and 60s, and fewer are in their teens and 20s. As a result, the proportion of all fatally injured riders 40 and older was 40 percent in 2000, up from 14 percent in 1990.

July 9, 2002

3 small SUVs earn good ratings in frontal crash tests

In recent frontal offset crash tests of four small sport utility vehicles, three earned the top crashworthiness rating. The 2002 Honda CR-V, 2003 Subaru Forester, and 2002 Saturn VUE are rated good overall. The 2002 Land Rover Freelander is rated acceptable.

July 2, 2002

Just 1 of 4 small SUVs tested has good bumpers

In low-speed crash tests, the bumpers on the redesigned 2003 Subaru Forester performed well, preventing extensive damage in 5 mph impacts. However, the bumpers on three other new or redesigned small sport utility vehicles — the 2002 model Saturn VUE, 2002 Land Rover Freelander, and 2002 Honda CR-V — allowed excessive damage.

May 28, 2002

9 midsize cars earn good frontal ratings

In frontal offset crash tests of nine new or redesigned 2002 model midsize cars, every car earned the top crashworthiness rating of good. The tested cars include models at a variety of price points.

May 24, 2002

On 9 midsize cars, not a single good bumper

In low-speed crash tests, the bumpers on the 2002 Lexus ES 300 and Toyota Camry performed reasonably well, preventing extensive damage in the 5 mph tests. The bumpers on the 2002 Nissan Altima and Acura TL didn't perform as well, and those on the remaining five cars — the Jaguar X-Type, Saab 9-5, Lexus IS 300, Volvo S60, and Hyundai XG350 — allowed excessive damage.

May 22, 2002

Many teens fail to buckle up even when their parents do

Belt use among high school students is lower than among other occupants in passenger vehicles. Even when adults are driving and using belts themselves, many teens riding with them aren't buckling up, a recent survey finds.

May 15, 2002

Acura Integra has highest theft losses

The Acura Integra has the most frequent theft claims among 1999-2001 models. Its claim frequency is more than 8 times the average for all cars. Largely because of the Integra's high rate of claims, this car also has the greatest overall theft losses, as measured by the average cost of claims per insured vehicle.

March 20, 2002

3 small cars earn good frontal ratings

A recent series of frontal offset crash tests included three new small car designs — Subaru Impreza, Mitsubishi Lancer and Volvo S40 — plus a newly designed large pickup, the Dodge Ram, and a new minivan, the Kia Sedona. All three small cars earn good ratings, and the Sedona is acceptable. The Ram is rated good — a big improvement compared with the 2001 Ram, which was rated poor.

March 13, 2002

Bumpers fail on 3 small cars and 1 minivan in latest tests

In low-speed crash tests, the bumpers on the new Mitsubishi Lancer, Subaru Impreza, and Volvo S40 didn't bump very well. Total damage sustained in four crash tests at 5 mph ranged from $2,515 to $3,169.

January 10, 2002

Deaths of older motorcyclists soar

Deaths among motorcyclists age 40 and older, which steadily increased during most of the 1990s, jumped dramatically from 1997 to 2000, the latest year for which statistics are available. The increase during the last three years exceeds 65 percent, and the overall increase in deaths among older motorcyclists since 1990 exceeds 150 percent.

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