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News from the Institutes: 2009

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December 22, 2009

9 BEST BETS AND 6 GOOD BETS in new booster ratings

New ratings from IIHS take the guesswork out of selecting boosters most likely to provide good lap and shoulder belt fit in a range of vehicles. The Institute rates nine belt-positioning boosters BEST BETS and six GOOD BETS out of 60 models examined in a new round of evaluations. Eleven boosters aren't recommended at all because they do such a poor job of fitting the belt.

December 1, 2009

IIHS backs fuel economy plan

IIHS supports government efforts to increase fuel efficiency through a vehicle attribute-based system that takes safety into account.

November 18, 2009

27 models win 2010 Top Safety Pick with new criteria

Nineteen cars and 8 SUVs earn the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's Top Safety Pick award for 2010. For the first time, good performance in a roof strength test to measure protection in a rollover is required to win.

November 9, 2009

Subaru makes strides to lower repair costs

Bumpers that don't bump, resulting in costly damage in what should be minor crashes, are the norm for cars evaluated in IIHS low-speed crash tests. One exception is the redesigned 2010 Subaru Legacy. The Legacy's bumpers are a big improvement over those on its 2007-09 predecessor.

November 4, 2009

IIHS testifies on cellphone laws and distracted driving

IIHS testified before two U.S. House subcommittees at a joint hearing on distracted driving. Preliminary data from insurance claims suggest no apparent reduction in crash risk after states enacted  bans on hand-held phone use.

September 17, 2009

Public supports technology to prevent impaired driving

People are ready to prevent any driver from starting a vehicle after drinking too much alcohol, even though the technology to do it isn't available yet. In an IIHS survey, people said they like the idea of using advanced technology to stop drunk drivers from operating their vehicles. About 2 of 3 respondents deem this a good or very good idea, assuming the technology is reliable.

August 20, 2009

Smart Fortwo rates good for rollover protection

The Smart Fortwo has the strongest roof and the Chevrolet Aveo  has the weakest among 2009 micro and minicars recently tested by IIHS. The Smart earns the highest rating of good compared with acceptable for the Honda Fit, Hyundai Accent, Mini Cooper and Toyota Yaris. The Aveo is rated marginal.

August 6, 2009

Bumpers on 4 of 6 midsize sedans improve

Bumpers on 2009 models of the Honda Accord, Hyundai Sonata, Mazda 6 and Nissan Maxima performed better than their 2007 predecessors in low-speed crash tests. Bumpers on the 2009 Chevrolet Malibu and 2010 Ford Fusion did worse than earlier models. None of the six popular midsize sedans earns the top rating of good.

July 21, 2009

Volvo and Ford coupes earn Top Safety Pick

IIHS usually crash tests 4-door models, emphasizing vehicles for family use. To evaluate the extent to which automakers are extending crashworthiness improvements to 2-door cars, the Institute recently conducted front, side and rear tests of 2009 coupes. Overall, the results were encouraging.

June 11, 2009

Mini and microcar bumpers allow pricey damage

None of the bumpers on seven mini and microcars IIHS recently tested earns the top rating of good, and most are rated poor. That means they would allow expensive damage in a fender-bender, a common hazard of driving in cities, where such tiny vehicles are a popular option.

April 14, 2009

Crash tests show how vehicle size, weight affect safety

Three crash tests, each involving a microcar or minicar into a midsize model from the same manufacturer, show how extra vehicle size and weight enhance occupant protection in collisions. The physics of crashes dictates that very small cars generally can't protect people in crashes as well as bigger, heavier models.

March 24, 2009

New ratings focus on roof strength for rollover protection

IIHS is launching a new roof strength rating system to help consumers pick vehicles that will help protect them in rollover crashes. Twelve small SUVs are the first to be put to the test. Only four earn the top rating of good.

February 25, 2009

IIHS testifies on speed enforcement and young drivers

IIHS testified on Feb. 24, 2009, before the Maryland Senate Committee on Judicial Proceedings on automated speed enforcement and on passenger and nighttime restrictions for young drivers.

February 11, 2009

Three large pickups don't look so tough in side tests

The Chevrolet Silverado 1500, Dodge Ram 1500 and Nissan Titan are billed as workhorses, but the side crash protection these 2009 model large pickups provide is wimpy, at best. The trio earns either poor or marginal ratings in IIHS side tests. Even with side airbags, occupant protection in these crew-cab pickups is no better than marginal.

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