December 17, 2005 |Volume 40, Number 10

TOP SAFETY PICKs for 2006: 10 winners, all equipped with side airbags

The first ever Top Safety Pick awards make it easier for consumers to shop for the safest vehicles.

GDL compliance improves somewhat with increased enforcement in N.C.

Increased enforcement and publicity leads to modest increase in GDL compliance in North Carolina.

November 19, 2005 |Volume 40, Number 9

When roadway design options are wide open, why not build a roundabout?

Roundabouts are easiest to build if they are incorporated into plans for new developments. Research also shows that initial public skepticism is usually overcome.

Risks are higher for teen drivers with teen passengers

When teens drive with other teens in their vehicles, they drive faster and leave less distance between themselves and the vehicles in front, a recent study finds.

When used as directed, big passenger vans are more likely to roll over

Adding more people to SUVs and vans decreases stability, which makes 15-passenger vans especially prone to roll over when they are fully occupied.

Flawed analysis of red light camera program draws Institute critique

A report by The Washington Post on D.C.'s red light cameras relies on problematic data and reaches outlandish conclusions

September 28, 2005 |Volume 40, Number 8

Speed camera programs in Australia and Britain present useful lessons

The U.S. could learn from longstanding speed camera programs in Britain and Australia.

Speeders are high-risk drivers in other ways too

Extreme speeders are more likely to be men under 30 and to have higher crash rates.

ESC brings insurance losses down under some, but not all, coverages

Electronic stability control lowers insurance losses for damage to the insured vehicle but has little effect on losses for damage to other people's vehicles or for injuries.

More deaths follow weakening of Florida's motorcycle helmet law

The motorcyclist death rate in Florida has increased about 25 percent since the state changed its helmet law to allow riders 21 and older to ride bare-headed.

NHTSA won't rate child restraints for crash performance

The agency will continue rating child restraints for ease of use but found there would be little benefit from testing them for crash performance.

August 6, 2005 |Volume 40, Number 7

Reducing urban crashes doesn't have to be costly or complicated

A multiyear Institute project in one D.C. suburb highlights inexpensive road engineering changes that can cut crashes.

More than 300,000 lives have been saved by airbags, other technologies

Federal motor vehicle safety standards and various safety technologies saved 328,551 lives from 1960 to 2002, a government study has found.

Occupant deaths from inflating airbags have been all but eliminated

Airbag inflation deaths have gone from a high of 68 in 1995 models to just one among 2004 models.

In other highway safety news …

Washington's belt law withstands a legal challenge; research supports DWI policies; most drivers think they're above average; a final tire pressure monitoring rule is issued.

July 16, 2005 |Volume 40, Number 6

Using a phone while driving raises the risk of a crash with injuries

An Institute study using driver cell phone records has found that injury crashes are 4 times as likely when drivers have been using phones.

Drivers respond to D.C. ban on handheld phones, but effect may fade

Institute researchers find fewer drivers using phones following the District of Columbia's ban, but experience elsewhere shows the rate may creep up again.

Open school lunch policies mean higher crash rates for teens

Teens have higher lunchtime crash rates when they're allowed to leave school for lunch, research finds.

Many teens face tougher policies on the road to a driver's license

Four more states have adopted graduated licensing for teenagers, and other states recently beefed up restrictions in their existing systems.

Truck driver fatigue isn't falling under rule in effect since 2004

In an IIHS survey of truck drivers before and after a new federal rule went into effect, drivers in two states reported being on the road more hours per day and per week.

April 28, 2005 |Volume 40, Number 5

Special issue: vehicle incompatibility in crashes

As SUVs get bigger and heavier, are people in cars at risk?

Crash incompatibility between SUVs and cars is a concern, but it's one that automakers and the federal government are working to address.

April 2, 2005 |Volume 40, Number 4

Special issue: alcohol-impaired driving

Efforts against alcohol-impaired driving stall after years of progress

In the U.S. and elsewhere, alcohol-impaired driving seems to be leveling off after years of declines.

Sobriety checkpoints deter impaired drivers

Research shows that frequent, low-manpower sobriety checkpoints can keep alcohol-impaired drivers off the roads.

Hard-core drinkers respond to general deterrence

Hard-core drinking drivers are a problem, but it's a mistake to spend too many resources on programs that target them specifically, at the expense of general deterrence.

Technology might stop impaired driving, but not anytime soon

Technology is being developed to accurately and unobtrusively measure a driver's blood alcohol concentration before the vehicle can be started.

March 19, 2005 |Volume 40, Number 3

Special issue: driver death rates

Fatality risk isn't the same in all vehicles, driver death rates show

The average driver death rate for 1999-2002 models was 87 per million registered vehicle years. Small cars and small and midsize SUVs tended to have the highest death rates.

January 31, 2005 |Volume 40, Number 2

Head restraints will be higher and closer to head under new regulation

A new federal requirement will force automakers to improve the position of head restraints to better protect occupants from whiplash injuries.

ATA softens longtime anti-recorder stance, but now FMCSA lags behind

The major group representing U.S. trucking companies has signaled it is ready to accept electronic on-board recorders, but federal regulators are moving slowly.

New options for frontal NCAP test under consideration

Federal officials are looking for a new frontal test for consumer information. An update to federal safety standards will make the current test redundant.

NHTSA considers major changes to side impact compliance testing

The Institute welcomes many of the changes NHTSA is proposing to side impact compliance testing but urges it to reconsider some details.

Primary belt laws would save about 700 lives per year

When states enact primary enforcement of safety belt laws, death rates decline 7 percent, Institute researchers find.

All back seats to get lap/shoulder belts

The change comes in response to a congressional mandate and is intended to improve child safety.

January 3, 2005 |Volume 40, Number 1

ESC reduces deaths, especially in single-vehicle crashes

Equipping cars and SUVs with electronic stability control can reduce fatal single-vehicle crashes by more than half, a new Institute study shows.

Human deaths in crashes with animals can be cut even if crashes aren't

Most people killed in crashes with deer and other animals weren't using safety belts or motorcycle helmets, an Institute study has found.

Don't use results of flawed report to decide about red light cameras

A recent study of red light cameras in Greensboro, N.C., relies on flawed methodology and reaches erroneous conclusions.

Statistical rigor or scientific error? Confusion harms public safety

A common misunderstanding about statistical nonsignificance can hold back progress in highway safety.