December 19, 2006 |Volume 41, Number 10

First crash test results for minicars

New results for a group of tiny cars popular for their fuel economy finds that only the Nissan Versa earns good ratings in all three tests.

Go ahead and require ESC, Institute and others tell regulators

The Institute supports a federal plan to require ESC in passenger vehicles but urges faster adoption than the government has proposed.

Teen drivers' crashes spike during school commute time

Research finds a high percentage of crashes involving teen drivers occur during the morning and afternoon school commute times.

Four states tell drivers to hang up the phone

California recently banned cellphone use by drivers. Other recent legislative action in the states concerns young drivers and safety belts.

November 21, 2006 |Volume 41, Number 9

TOP SAFETY PICK: 13 vehicles are cream of the crop for 2007

The Institute has raised the bar for Top Safety Pick, requiring electronic stability control to be offered. The 2007 winners include four cars, seven SUVs and two minivans. 

Motorcyclist fatalities push total crash deaths up

More people died in motor vehicle crashes on U.S. roads in 2005 than in any year since 1990. Much of the increase can be pinned on motorcycles.

October 7, 2006 |Volume 41, Number 8

Surviving side crashes: Side airbags are reducing driver deaths

An expanded study of the effectiveness of side airbags confirms they are reducing fatality risk in real-world crashes in both cars and SUVs.

Event data recorders won't be required

New federal rules will make event data recorders more useful by standardizing the data that are collected, but they won't require all vehicles to be equipped with them.

Trucker fatigue: 1 of 5 drivers reports falling asleep at the wheel

Truck drivers report driving more and falling asleep at the wheel more often under the latest work-hour rules.

Robert McDermott, strong champion of the Institute since the 1980s

Brigadier General Robert F. McDermott, who led USAA, was a passionate highway safety advocate.

September 7, 2006 |Volume 41, Number 7

Focusing too much on hard-core drinking drivers is counterproductive

Hard-core drinking drivers have drawn a lot of attention in recent years, but they aren't the main part of the impaired driving problem.

California GDL cuts crashes, especially in high-risk situations

New Institute research confirms the success of California's graduated licensing law.

Zero alcohol tolerance is enforced more effectively in Washington

An Institute study found 51 percent more arrests of 16-20-year-old drivers for alcohol violations in Washington state after the zero tolerance law took effect in 1994, compared with before.

Truckers' driving hours are subject of more litigation

Rules about how many hours truck drivers should be allowed to work, how much rest should be required between shifts and how to enforce the limits are back before federal judges.

July 15, 2006 |Volume 41, Number 6

Q&As address highway safety basics

This issue of Status Report highlights our Q&As on highway safety issues.

June 13, 2006 |Volume 41, Number 5

Belt reminders in Hondas are persuading motorists to buckle up

Persistent safety belt reminders in Honda vehicles increased belt use among drivers from 84 to 90 percent.

ESC reduces multiple-vehicle crashes as well as single-vehicle ones

As many as 10,000 fatal crashes could be avoided each year if all vehicles were equipped with ESC, an update of earlier IIHS research shows.

Unreliable FHWA data prompt Institute to stop use and warn others

The Institute has stopped using federal licensing data because of accuracy problems and is warning others not to rely on the information.

For 4th year Escalade has most theft claims and costliest ones

The Cadillac Escalade, Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution, and Dodge Ram 1500 quad cab pickup have the highest rates of insurance theft claims, the latest HLDI theft report shows.

April 22, 2006 |Volume 41, Number 4

Bad statistics lead to misinformation

Changes in death rates are often used to evaluate highway safety policies without properly accounting for factors such as changing demographics and traffic congestion.

Improving vehicle designs help push down death rate

New research shows that improved vehicle designs are responsible for the decrease in driver death rates since the mid-1990s.

Overhaul of federal fuel economy program serves safety too

New federal rules will remove the incentive for auto manufacturers to meet fuel economy targets primarily by downsizing their vehicles, which is detrimental to safety.

Institute founder Thomas C. Morrill has died

Morrill and other board members hired Dr. William Haddon Jr., giving the Institute a new direction.

March 29, 2006 |Volume 41, Number 3

Special issue: frontal crash test verifications

Major change in frontal crash testing based on program's success

The Institute has started allowing manufacturers to conduct their own frontal offset tests of redesigned vehicles. The Institute will conduct occasional audit tests.

February 25, 2006 |Volume 41, Number 2

Proposed revision of fuel economy standards would be a win for safety

A proposed fuel efficiency standard for SUVs, vans, and pickup trucks would remove the incentive to increase sales of small, light vehicles to counterbalance gas guzzlers.

Incomplete data distorts conclusions about frontal airbags

Institute researchers show the problems with a recent study that claimed to find that airbags cause more deaths than they prevent.

Buckle-up rate lags at night, but study shows enforcement helps

Safety belt use has topped 80 percent for two years in a row, but two new studies confirm that the rate is lower at night. Enforcement can help raise it.

Two more states upgrade belt laws to allow primary enforcement

One reason the belt use rate in Pennsylvania is low is that it allows only for secondary enforcement. Alaska and Mississippi are the latest states to upgrade to primary belt laws.

January 28, 2006 |Volume 41, Number 1

Automakers' efforts reduce mismatch between cars and light trucks

Automakers' voluntary steps to reduce the mismatch between cars and SUVs are reducing fatality risk in the real world.

Brian O'Neill retires as IIHS president

O'Neill joined the Institute in 1969 and helped found HLDI in 1972. He became president of both in 1985.

Phoning while driving increases year by year

Drivers are increasingly using the phone while driving. Meanwhile, research is making the risks of such behavior clear.

Plan to boost strength of vehicle roofs is worthwhile but not enough

A federal proposal to improve roof strength is a step in the right direction but won't produce big benefits.