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News from the Institutes: 2005

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December 4, 2005

Ten winners of 1st Top Safety Pick awards

IIHS announces the first 10 cars to earn the Top Safety Pick award. The awards recognize car designs that afford the best protection for people in front, side, and rear crashes, based on performance in Institute tests. The winning vehicles were chosen from among current models of small, midsize and large cars plus minivans.

November 6, 2005

Toyota, Honda, Nissan minivans perform best in side test

For the first time IIHS has evaluated the performance of minivans in side impact crash tests. The tests simulate crashes in which SUVs or pickup trucks strike the sides of minivans. These are the kinds of crashes that can occur at intersections when a vehicle runs a red light or stop sign.

November 2, 2005

Audi, Ford, Subaru, VW cars earn good front, side ratings

The 2006 Audi A3, Volkswagen Passat and Subaru Legacy earn "double best pick" designations for very good overall performance in both front and side tests conducted by IIHS. The 2005-06 Ford Five Hundred has good overall ratings in both tests but doesn't earn the "best pick" designation in the side impact.

October 13, 2005

Ford Freestyle is a top performer in frontal test

The Ford Freestyle, a midsize SUV introduced for the 2005 model year, earns the highest rating of good in the Institute's 40 mph frontal offset test. The Freestyle also earns the "best pick" designation for frontal crash test performance.

September 18, 2005

Most minivans have inadequate rear crash protection

The seat/head restraints in most current minivan models are marginal or poor. Only the Ford Freestar and its twin Mercury Monterey earn good overall ratings for rear crash protection. Those in some Dodge Grand Caravan/Chrysler Town & Country models are rated acceptable.

August 3, 2005

Simple remedies could reduce urban crashes

Most crash deaths occur on rural roads, but motorists drive 2 billion miles every day on urban arterial roads. About 8,000 deaths and more than 1 million injuries occur each year on these roads. Many of these crashes happen in predictable locations and involve predictable sequences of events. Some relatively simple and inexpensive roadway changes can reduce the  toll.

July 17, 2005

Two large luxury cars earn good side, front ratings

Two large luxury cars earned top ratings in both front and side impact crash tests conducted recently. The 2005 Audi A6 earned good ratings and "best pick" designations for its performance in both tests, making the A6 a "double best pick." The 2006 Infiniti M35 also earned good ratings in both tests and a "best pick" for crashworthiness in front but not side crashes.

July 12, 2005

Driver cellphone use quadruples injury crash risk

Drivers are 4 times as likely to get into a crash serious enough to injure themselves when they are using cellphones than when they are not, IIHS researchers have found. The increased risk was estimated by comparing phone use within 10 minutes before an actual crash occurred with use by the same driver during the prior week.

June 19, 2005

8 large cars earn good frontal crash ratings

A group of five large family cars and three large luxury cars earned top ratings of good in frontal crash tests recently conducted by IIHS. Among the family models that were tested — Buick LaCrosse, Chrysler 300, Ford Five Hundred, Kia Amanti and Toyota Avalon — all but the Amanti earned the added designation of "best pick" in the frontal test.

June 5, 2005

Audi A4, Chevy Malibu earn good side ratings

Among five 2005 model midsize sedans, the Audi A4 with standard side airbags and the Chevrolet Malibu equipped with optional side airbags earn good ratings. They also earn the "best pick" designation in side impact crash tests recently conducted by IIHS. The Volvo S60 earns the second-highest rating of acceptable. The Suzuki Verona and Nissan Maxima are marginal.

April 24, 2005

Volkswagen Jetta aces side impact test

The redesigned Volkswagen Jetta earns good ratings in both frontal offset and side impact crash tests conducted by IIHS. The Jetta is the first vehicle to earn the top rating of good in every individual measurement category (injury measures, head protection and structural design) of the Institute's side impact test. It's the top-rated car overall in the inexpensive midsize class.

April 10, 2005

2 new minivans, 3 small pickups earn good frontal ratings

Two new minivans and three small pickup trucks with extended cabs earn the top rating of good in the IIHS frontal offset crash test. The Honda Odyssey and Chevrolet Uplander minivans, both new designs for the 2005 model year, are rated good. The Odyssey earned the added designation of "best pick" for frontal crash protection.

March 10, 2005

New work rule for truckers isn't improving safety

A new IIHS survey indicates that drivers of interstate trucks spend more time behind the wheel under a federal work rule that went into effect in 2004. A quarter of drivers who were surveyed said they drive more than the new daily limit of 11 hours. Eight of 10 drivers said they're taking advantage of a restart provision that allows them to drive 25 percent more in a week.

March 6, 2005

14 of 16 small cars earn poor ratings in side test

Most small car designs earn poor ratings in side impact crash tests recently conducted by IIHS. Only the Chevrolet Cobalt and Toyota Corolla, both equipped with optional side airbags with head protection, performed well enough to earn the Institute's second highest rating of acceptable. Without the optional airbags, the Cobalt and Corolla are rated poor for side impact protection.

February 24, 2005

Fatal crash rate of 16 year-old drivers declines sharply

The fatal crash rate for 16-year-old drivers declined sharply after states began enacting graduated licensing laws in the 1990s, an IIHS study finds. Fatal crash involvements based on the population of 16 year-olds fell 26 percent during 1993-2003.

January 13, 2005

Primary belt laws would save 700 lives per year

Safety belt use laws in only 21 states and the District of Columbia are primary, meaning police may stop vehicles solely for belt law violations. But in most states, police cannot stop vehicles for this infraction alone. When states strengthen their laws from secondary enforcement to primary, driver death rates decline by an estimated 7 percent, a new study finds.

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