December 27, 2008 |Volume 43, Number 11

Benefits of higher drinking age are crystal clear in study after study

An Institute review of the research confirms that the establishment of 21 as the drinking age has reduced teen drinking, impaired driving and crash fatalities.

Push to lower drinking age ignores 30 years of research

Some groups are advocating for a lower drinking age, saying 21 has pushed college drinking underground. Evidence shows vigorous enforcement of 21 policies is a better approach.

Older drivers' fatal crashes trend down

The number of older drivers is increasing, but their involvement in fatal crashes has fallen in recent years, a new Institute study finds.

'Stop ahead' road markings reduce crashes

Pavement markings that tell drivers they are approaching a stop sign are an easy and inexpensive way to reduce intersection crashes, a government study has found.

New small car crash test ratings

A group of seven 2009 small cars all earn good ratings in the Institute's frontal test, but few perform that well in tests of side and rear protection.

November 25, 2008 |Volume 43, Number 10

72 winners for 2009: Number of vehicles earning TOP SAFETY PICK soars

The number of vehicles earning the annual award has more than doubled, as manufacturers improve front, side and rear crash protection and offer electronic stability control.

Fatal crashes with deer jump in November

Far more collisions with deer occur in November than any other month, new research shows.

School buses are the focus of new rule

A new federal rule will require higher seat backs in all new school buses and lap/shoulder belts in all new small school buses.

Motorcyclist death count keeps rising

More motorcyclists died in crashes in 2007 than any other year, while passenger vehicle occupant deaths fell to their lowest recorded level.

October 22, 2008 |Volume 43, Number 9

Antilock brakes on motorcycles reduce both crash frequencies and deaths

Antilock brakes on motorcycles reduce both insurance claims and fatal crashes, two new studies show.

More states ban texting by drivers

Seven states and the District of Columbia now prohibit drivers from texting while behind the wheel.

Child seat use among kids in crashes goes up

Use of child safety seats has surged in recent years, but there still is room for improvement, a new report says.

Faster, heavier golf carts get thumbs down from federal regulators

Federal regulators have rejected petitions to increase the allowable weight for low-speed vehicles and also launch a medium-speed-vehicle class.

October 1, 2008 |Volume 43, Number 8

Special issue: booster seats

First booster evaluations: New ratings show which seats work best

Ten booster seat models are rated best bets for belt fit, while 13 do such a poor job consumers are advised to steer clear of them.

Children ride in adult belts before they're ready, survey shows

A government survey finds a third of 4-7 year-olds are riding in adult belts without boosters even though they are most likely too small to do so safely.

September 9, 2008 |Volume 43, Number 7

Licensing teenagers later reduces their crashes

Few teens would like the idea of waiting longer to drive, but licensing at a higher age cuts crashes and saves lives.

Hybrids cost insurers more than identical vehicles running on gas

Insurance costs for crash damage are higher for hybrids than for their conventional counterparts, a HLDI analysis shows.

Belt use helps protect fetus as well as mom

Pregnant women shouldn't be afraid of harming their fetuses by buckling up. In fact, if they all did so, half of all pregnancy losses in crashes could be prevented, research shows.

Cellphone users admit to driving while distracted

A Nationwide Insurance survey finds 4 out of 5 cellphone owners say they drive distracted.

July 24, 2008 |Volume 43, Number 6

Small pickups skimp on protection, disappointing side tests reveal

The Toyota Tacoma was the only small pickup out of five tested to earn a good rating in the Institute's side crash test.

Campaign spurs big drop in night drinking and driving

A crackdown on impaired driving and underage drinking in a West Virginia college town shows what stepped-up enforcement and a media blitz can accomplish.

Star ratings upgrade leaves NCAP missing the mark on consumer tests

NHTSA is missing a chance to encourage improvement in frontal crash protection by leaving its test essentially unchanged.

Canada loosens bumper standard to align with U.S.

Canada ditches its tougher bumper standard in favor of one as weak as the U.S. rule.

July 1, 2008 |Volume 43, Number 5

Bumper rules should extend to light trucks, Institute tells NHTSA

Federal bumper rules don't apply to SUVs or pickups. If they did, minor crashes would result in much less damage than they do now.

Traffic violation dismissals are linked to crash risk

Drivers who are allowed to have their tickets dismissed if they complete traffic school have a higher risk of being in a crash, a new study shows.

June 9, 2008 |Volume 43, Number 4

Despite prohibition, North Carolina teens still use phones while driving

A law prohibiting teenagers from using a cellphone while driving has the support of teens and their parents, but that hasn't kept teen drivers from violating it.

Roundabouts can be even safer with easy changes

Roundabouts are much safer than traditional intersections, but some crashes do occur. Most of these are minor collisions, and there are ways to reduce the risk.

Redesigned airbags safeguard both children and grown-ups

A six-year evaluation by a blue ribbon panel finds that redesigned frontal airbags are doing a better job than older airbags at keeping children safe while still protecting adults.

Reminders are effective in persuading holdouts to buckle their safety belts

Enhanced belt reminders increase belt use by front seat occupants 3-4 percent, federal researchers have found.

April 17, 2008 |Volume 43, Number 3

Special issue: crash avoidance features

Researchers estimate potential benefits of crash avoidance features

A new Institute study estimates potential benefits of five crash avoidance technologies, finding that forward collision warning and lane departure warning hold the most promise.

How drivers respond to new features will be key

How drivers respond to new crash avoidance technologies will help determine how well they work to reduce crashes.

March 15, 2008 |Volume 43, Number 2

Roof strength affects injury risk in SUV rollover crashes, study finds

Injury rates in rollover crashes are lower in SUVs with strong roofs, a new Institute study finds.

Neck injury risk is lower if seats and head restraints are rated good

The rate of neck injury complaints is lower in cars and SUVs with seat/head restraint combinations that are rated good by the Institute than those rated poor.

January 31, 2008 |Volume 43, Number 1

Special issue: speed

U.S. drivers speed on all kinds of roads, new data show

More than a decade after the repeal of the 55 mph national maximum speed limit, travel speeds generally have gone up around the country, and many drivers exceed posted limits.

How posted limits affect speeds

When speed limits go down, speeds do as well, Institute research shows.

Cameras help lower speeds on Arizona freeway

The number of violators plunged after cameras were turned on in a pilot project in Scottsdale.

Early speed camera results in Maryland are promising

A Washington, D.C., suburb is using cameras to enforce speed limits in residential areas and school zones.

Champagne, Notre Dame, et les radars: speed cameras in France

Up to 2,000 speed cameras dot the French road network as part of the country's "fight against road violence."

Insurance losses rise as automakers rev up horsepower

As manufacturers increase horsepower, insurance losses go up, especially for young drivers, a new HLDI study shows.