December 20, 2012 |Volume 47, Number 10

Family cars trump luxury models in rigorous new crash test; top performance earns 13 cars 2013 TOP SAFETY PICK+

A group of moderately priced midsize cars outperformed most of their luxury counterparts in a challenging new frontal crash test conducted by IIHS on 2013 models.

Volvo owners give thumbs-up to crash avoidance features

Owners of Volvos with advanced crash avoidance features find the systems useful, and the vast majority would want the technology again, an IIHS survey shows.

Combination side airbags reduce death and injury risk

Side airbags that protect the head and torso reduce the likelihood of death and upper body injuries in near-side crashes by 61 percent compared with no side airbags, an Australian study finds.

November 20, 2012 |Volume 47, Number 9

Changing mix: Despite worries, aging population won't push up nation's crash rate

The expected growth in the population of older drivers isn't going to cause insurance claim rates to skyrocket even though older drivers tend to crash more than middle-aged ones, a HLDI analysis shows.

Research suggests guidelines for credible camera enforcement

A new report provides guidance on how to set up and operate camera programs to make them both effective and less likely to come in for criticism.

Speed-alert devices plus incentives can curb speeding

Research indicates intelligent speed adaption could help drivers keep speeds in check.

Risk of collisions with deer is highest during November

Vehicle damage from hitting an animal is more than 3½ times as common in November as in August, when claims are lowest. The high-claim period coincides with deer mating season, when bucks are likely to be roaming.

October 25, 2012 |Volume 47, Number 8

Boosters reach milestone: Nearly all new seats provide good belt fit

Fifteen of 17 booster seats introduced in 2012 earn the top rating of BEST BET from IIHS, showing that manufacturers are designing seats to provide good belt fit for children. BEST BET boosters outnumber seats in any of the three other categories.

Freeway speeds rise as more drivers exceed posted limits

Drivers exceed speed limits on all kinds of roads, but the problem has worsened on freeways and expressways, a national survey of traffic speeds shows.

Choosing speed over safety in Texas

The decision to establish an 85 mph speed limit in Texas ignores decades of research that shows more people die in crashes when speed limits are raised.

Graduated licensing benefits older beginners in Australia

A study of recent changes to graduated licensing in Victoria, Australia, shows that restrictions can reduce crashes among newly licensed 18-20 year-olds.

September 20, 2012 |Volume 47, Number 7

By the numbers: Claims information by make and model helps consumers choose safer vehicles

The latest HLDI information shows which vehicles have the most frequent claims for injuries and which end up with higher damage costs.

HLDI data online and at the dealer

Collision loss data from the Highway Loss Data Institute has been available at auto dealers for decades, but Congress is considering repealing the requirement. The good news is all that information and more can be accessed at online.

LATCH, belt reminders get lift; highway law supports teen driver laws, impaired driving research

The recently passed transportation funding law known as MAP-21 includes a number of important safety-related provisions.

August 14, 2012 |Volume 47, Number 6

Small overlap crashes: New consumer-test program aims for even safer vehicles

Only 3 of 11 midsize luxury and near-luxury cars tested earn good or acceptable ratings in the Institute’s new small overlap frontal crash test. The test involves 25 percent of a vehicle's front end.

Real-world small overlap crash results in driver facial injuries

Hollyn Mangione knows first-hand what can happen in a real-world small-overlap crash. Hers left her with a facial fracture and laceration, concussion, whiplash, eye injury and dental injuries.

Truck tractors, buses could get standard ESC under NHTSA proposal

Electronic stability control, already standard on all passenger vehicles since the 2012 model year, could be required for new large truck tractors and certain large buses under a proposal being considered by federal regulators.

July 3, 2012 |Volume 47, Number 5

Special issue: crash avoidance

They're working: Insurance claims data show which new technologies are preventing crashes

Early evidence that advanced crash avoidance technologies are cutting crashes comes from a study of insurance claims. Forward collision avoidance systems and adaptive headlights show the biggest crash reductions in the analysis by the Highway Loss Data Institute.

Innovations aim to stave off crash threats from all sides

From curve speed warning to cross traffic alert to backup cameras, there's a long list of new technologies making their way into vehicles.

May 31, 2012 |Volume 47, Number 4

How to make young driver laws even better

If every state adopted all five components of the toughest young driver laws in the nation, more than 500 lives could be saved and more than 9,500 collisions could be prevented each year.

Hail claims spiked in 2011

Insurance losses for hail-related damage to vehicles more than doubled last year compared with the previous three years.

Antilocks slash claims for newly insured riders

Antilock brakes cut crashes for motorcyclists of all abilities, but new riders seem to benefit the most, an analysis of insurance claims shows.

Michigan drops helmet requirement for most motorcycle riders

In a step backward for motorcycle safety, Michigan abandons its longstanding helmet requirement.

April 12, 2012 |Volume 47, Number 3

Keys to better LATCH: Automakers should follow 3 principles when designing anchors and seats

The LATCH system is supposed to make it easier to install child seats by standardizing attachment hardware, but only 21 of 98 top-selling 2010-11 model passenger vehicles have LATCH designs that are easy to use.

Parents' struggles show shortcomings of LATCH

When a group of parents attempted to install child seats in a demonstration, they confronted some of the same problems researchers identified.

Study confirms wisdom of linking fuel economy to a vehicle's footprint

Safety isn’t compromised by vehicle weight reductions if they are concentrated in the heaviest vehicles, a federal study finds.

Institute responds to criticism of red light camera research

IIHS rebuts a Florida professor’s critique of a 2011 Institute study on the benefits of red light cameras.

March 6, 2012 |Volume 47, Number 2

Alcohol ignition interlocks are reducing recidivism among drivers convicted of DUI in Washington

Requiring interlocks for everyone convicted of alcohol-impaired driving, not just repeat offenders and those with high blood alcohol concentrations, makes it less likely that people will reoffend, a study of Washington state's interlock law shows.

Effective belt reminders don't need to be relentless

Enhanced belt reminders that chime intermittently are just as effective as those that chime continuously for 90 seconds but are less annoying.

Interior padding reduces head injuries in crashes

Interior padding added to vehicles before side airbags became widespread has helped to cut head injuries, a federal study shows.

Teen passenger death rate starts uptick at age 13

The teen crash problem starts long before teenagers are driving as they travel as passengers of older friends who already have their licenses.

January 24, 2012 |Volume 47, Number 1

Estimated time of arrival: New safety features take 3 decades to spread through vehicle fleet

New technologies could cut crashes dramatically, but don't count on them being everywhere tomorrow. HLDI finds it takes about three decades for safety features to spread through the registered vehicle fleet.

New bumper tests show easy fix for mismatch problem

Simple modifications to the bumpers of SUVs could save consumers thousands of dollars on repairs after low-speed collisions between SUVs and cars.

Final hours-of-service rule leaves 11-hour shift intact

Federal regulators are allowing truck drivers to continue spending as many as 11 hours a day on the road, despite scientific evidence supporting a 10-hour limit.