December 22, 2009 |Volume 44, Number 11

Which booster is best for me?

IIHS finds nine BEST BETs and six GOOD BETs among 60 models evaluated in its second annual booster ratings.

Boosters offer better protection than safety belts alone in a crash

Children 4-8 years old are 45 percent less likely to sustain injuries in a crash if they ride in booster seats than if they use safety belts alone.

Hybrids may prompt pedestrians, cyclists to prick up their ears

Hybrid vehicles don't always produce engine noise, and that makes it hard to hear them coming. A new study finds hybrids are more likely than other vehicles to strike pedestrians.

November 18, 2009 |Volume 44, Number 10

2010 TOP SAFETY PICK: Criteria now include good roof strength

Nineteen cars and eight SUVs qualify for the 2010 Top Safety Pick award. Good roof strength for protection in a rollover crash has been added to the requirements.

Luxury owners embrace systems to skirt crashes

A new survey shows owners of luxury vehicles are making use of new crash avoidance features and would want them on their next vehicles.

November remains hazardous month for striking deer

Insurance claims for crashes involving animals are nearly 3 times as high in November as in other months.

Subaru improves Legacy bumpers to acceptable

A big improvement in the Subaru Legacy's bumper performance after a redesign shows that automakers can do a lot to limit damage in low-speed crashes that happen every day.

October 13, 2009 |Volume 44, Number 9

Cellphones and driving: Do bans improve safety?

Cellphone bans can have lasting effects on driver behavior, new research shows, but the safety impact isn't clear.

Test compares crashworthiness then and now

Crash test of 2009 Chevrolet Malibu with 1959 Chevrolet Bel Air shows just how far vehicle safety has come since the Institute's founding.

September 17, 2009 |Volume 44, Number 8

Alcohol detection devices for all drivers garner widespread support

A national survey finds broad support for alcohol detection devices in every vehicle to prevent people from driving when they're over the legal limit.

NHTSA opens bumper dialogue on light trucks

Federal regulators have agreed to seek comments on an Institute petition to extend federal bumper rules to pickups, SUVs and vans.

Amber turn signals prevent rear crashes better than red

New research shows amber turn signals reduce rear-end crashes 5 percent compared with red signals.

Tractor-trailers get better brakes under new rule

Required stopping distances for tractor-trailers will decrease by 30 percent under a revised federal rule.

Crash deaths fall in every group but motorcycles

The struggling economy has continued to benefit highway safety, with crash deaths falling 10 percent in 2008.

July 11, 2009 |Volume 44, Number 7

It's simple: click it or ticket

Front seat belt use climbed to 84 percent in 2008, thanks largely to Click It or Ticket enforcement efforts.

'Click it or ticket' can reach belt holdouts if enforcement is tough

Increased enforcement and primary belt laws are two of the ways states can boost belt use rates.

Belt reminders reduce deaths among drivers

A new study shows belt reminders that go beyond what's required reduce driver fatality risk by 2 percent.

Interlock laws now cover more DUI offenders

More states are requiring interlocks for first-time alcohol offenders. Studies have shown interlocks reduce the chances of re-arrest.

June 11, 2009 |Volume 44, Number 6

Bumpers on mini and microcars allow pricey damage in new IIHS tests

Five out of seven minicars and microcars earn poor ratings in the Institute's bumper tests, racking up thousands of dollars in damage in low-speed collisions.

Rollover safety gets a big boost in new roof rule

The government's roof strength standard has gotten a long-overdue upgrade and is even tougher than IIHS expected.

Donald Schaffer was a champion of front airbags

Donald L. Schaffer, an Allstate executive who was chairman of the Institute's board of directors and helped lead the fight for front airbags, has died. He was 84.

NHTSA hands off child seat issue to automakers

NHTSA is asking automakers to voluntarily recommend child seats that fit well with their vehicles.

May 7, 2009 |Volume 44, Number 5

Special issue: teenage drivers

Monitoring devices let parents supervise new drivers more closely

In-vehicle monitoring devices can help reduce teen crash risk by providing feedback about driving behavior to both teenagers and their parents.

Variety of gadgets rides shotgun with teenagers

A variety of systems are available to allow parents to monitor teen drivers.

Insurers take high-tech approach to teen drivers

Some insurers provide free or discounted monitoring devices to policyholders with teen drivers.

Strong teen driving laws reduce crashes, insurance claims

Graduated licensing laws rated good by IIHS are associated with lower fatal crash rates among teen drivers and lower insurance losses, compared with laws rated poor.

April 14, 2009 |Volume 44, Number 4

Special issue: car size, weight and safety

Mini-vs.-midsize crash tests show importance of vehicle size, weight

A series of tests in which a microcar or minicar was crashed into a midsize vehicle shows the important role that size and weight play in vehicle safety.

Physics dictates crash outcomes

Principles related to force and distance explain the results of crashes between minicars and midsize cars.

Fuel economy and safety can be achieved at the same time

Smaller vehicles use less fuel but don't protect as well in crashes. Fortunately, there are ways to improve fuel economy without compromising safety.

March 24, 2009 |Volume 44, Number 3

Special issue: roof strength

Institute launches new roof strength rating for rollover protection

The Institute is releasing its first roof strength ratings to help consumers choose vehicles that offer the best protection in rollover crashes.

Strong roofs also benefit small cars

New study shows cars, as well as SUVs, benefit from strong roofs, which reduce the risk of injury in rollovers.

Tougher rule on roof crush is still needed

The effort to upgrade the federal roof standard has gotten bogged down in politics and indecision.

A dynamic test would be ideal, but which one?

A test in which a vehicle is rolled over would be the ideal way to measure protection in rollover crashes, but choosing the ideal set-up is tricky.

March 7, 2009 |Volume 44, Number 2

Crash data of good-rated vehicles could be used to develop new tests

Even in a vehicle with good safety ratings, crashes are sometimes deadly. Institute researchers looked at these crashes to figure out what new tests are needed.

Voluntary rules on vehicle compatibility are successful

Fifteen automakers have agreed on the first set of steps to reduce the risks to people in cars struck by larger and heavier SUVs and pickups.

Frontal airbags failed to inflate, newspaper reports

The Institute took a closer look at crash deaths in which the airbag reportedly failed to inflate. The analysis shows a potential problem, albeit a limited one.

February 14, 2009 |Volume 44, Number 1

Truck safety isn't being served by the agency in charge of it

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration once again is refusing to put safer limits on the hours truck drivers are allowed to work.

Safety consequences of driving longer

Since the 2003 work-hour rule, declines in fatal crashes with trucks haven't kept pace with declines in fatal crashes with other passenger vehicles.

Rejected: electronic recorders

FMSCA has rebuffed petitions to require electronic recorders instead of handwritten logbooks that can be easily falsified.

No right to run a red light: Courts hand down favorable rulings

A federal appeals court in Illinois is the latest to uphold the use of red light cameras.

Cameras and other state law actions

State legislators are making decisions about red light cameras and other highway safety issues.

Three large pickups don't live up to brawny image in side tests

The Chevrolet Silverado and Nissan Titan earn poor ratings in the Institute's side crash test, while the Dodge Ram earns a marginal.