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News from the Institutes: 2008

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December 17, 2008

Many small cars fall short on side and rear protection

Most new small cars now earn good ratings in frontal crash tests but not when it comes to side and rear crashes. IIHS recently completed front, side and rear tests of seven 2009 model small cars. All earn the highest rating of good for occupant protection in frontal crashes. Only two also earn good ratings for protection in side crashes, and just one gets a good rating for rear protection.

December 16, 2008

Fewer older drivers are dying in crashes

Despite growing numbers on the road, fewer older drivers died in crashes and fewer were involved in fatal collisions during 1997-2006 than in years past, IIHS researchers have found. Crash deaths among drivers 70 and older fell 21 percent during the period, reversing an upward trend. The reasons aren't clear, but another Institute study indicates that older adults limit their driving as they age.

November 25, 2008

72 vehicles earn 2009 Top Safety Pick award

Seventy-two vehicles earn the IIHS Top Safety Pick award for 2009. This is more than double the number of 2008 recipients and more than 3 times the number of 2007 winners.

October 30, 2008

Collisions with animals spike in November

November is the peak month for vehicle-deer collisions, and a new analysis of insurance claims and federal crash data indicate the problem is growing. HLDI recently examined insurance claims for animal strikes and found they are nearly 3 times higher during November than the typical month earlier in the year.

October 1, 2008

First IIHS booster ratings: 13 seats are not recommended

Booster seats are meant to do one thing — elevate children so that safety belts designed for adults are in the right position to restrain kids during a crash. Thirteen of the 41 belt-positioning booster seats IIHS evaluated with the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute did such a poor job that they are not recommended at all. Ten models are best bets and 5 are good bets.

September 25, 2008

11 vehicles earn Top Safety Pick award

Four small cars, two midsize cars, two midsize SUVs, one large luxury car, one small pickup, and a midsize convertible are the latest winners of the Top Safety Pick award. Winners afford superior overall crash protection among the vehicles in their classes. To qualify, a vehicle must earn the highest rating of good in the Institute's front, side, and rear tests. It also must be equipped with electronic stability control.

September 9, 2008

Put off driver licensure to save lives

Most U.S. states allow driving at age 16, 16½ or somewhere in between. But licensing at later ages would substantially reduce crashes involving teen drivers. The same conclusion has been reached in other countries. Teens in Great Britain and most Australian states can't get their licenses until they turn 17, and in most EU countries it's 18.

September 4, 2008

Small cars suffer major damage in low-speed crashes

Low-speed collisions happen every day in commuter traffic and parking lots. These "fender benders" end up costing car owners a lot of money and aggravation because the bumpers on many cars aren't designed to handle what should be a no-damage event.

August 20, 2008

New crash test results: 4 small SUVs earn Top Safety Pick

Automakers are improving the crashworthiness of their vehicles and quickly installing side airbags and electronic stability control on more models. IIHS recently completed front, side and rear crash test evaluations of eight small SUV models. For the first time, every model tested comes equipped with electronic stability control as standard equipment.

July 24, 2008

Most small pickups get 'dismal' ratings in IIHS side tests

Small pickups aren't providing as much protection in side crashes as many new cars and SUVs. The Toyota Tacoma was the only one of five small pickup trucks, all 2008 models, to earn the highest rating of good for occupant protection in recent side crash tests conducted by IIHS. The Dodge Dakota, Ford Ranger and Nissan Frontier are rated marginal, and the Chevrolet Colorado is rated poor in the side test, which simulates a side impact from an SUV or another pickup.

July 1, 2008

Federal bumper rules should apply to all vehicles

Cars, SUVs and pickups share the road but they don't share the same standard for bumpers. IIHS has petitioned the federal government to regulate the bumpers on light trucks just as it regulates those on cars. The same bumper rules should apply to all kinds of passenger vehicles.

June 9, 2008

Teen drivers often ignore cellphone bans

Teenage drivers' cellphone use edged higher in North Carolina after the state enacted a cellphone ban for young drivers, a new IIHS study finds. This is the case even though young drivers and their parents said they strongly support the restrictions. Parents and teens alike believe the ban on hand-held and hands-free phone use isn't being enforced.

May 14, 2008

Smart car earns good front, side ratings

The Smart car is getting a lot of attention for its small size and style, and now it's earning impressive crash test ratings. In recent IIHS tests, the 2008 Smart Fortwo, the smallest car for sale in the U.S. market, earned the top rating of good for front and side crash protection. It earned the second-highest rating of acceptable for protection against whiplash in rear impacts.

April 17, 2008

New crash test results: Subaru Forester is Top Safety Pick

The redesigned 2009 Subaru Forester, a small SUV, earns the Top Safety Pick award. Winners afford superior overall crash protection among the vehicles in their class. To qualify, a vehicle must earn the highest rating of good in the Institute's front, side and rear tests and be equipped with electronic stability control.

April 10, 2008

Midsize cars improve in side crash tests

Occupant protection in side impacts of midsize cars is improving as automakers introduce safer designs and add side airbags as standard equipment. IIHS recently completed front, side and rear tests of seven 2008 model midsize cars. All earn the highest rating of good for occupant protection in frontal crashes, and all but one were good for side crash protection. Rear crash protection results vary more widely, and only one had a good rating.

February 26, 2008

Nissan Murano is best performer of nine midsize SUVs

The best overall performer in front, side and rear tests of nine 4-door midsize SUV models is the redesigned 2009 Nissan Murano, which earns the Top Safety Pick award. Three models are marginal or poor for side-impact protection.

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