Consumer safety information programs at IIHS
Zuby, David S.
Proceedings of the 24th International Technical Conference on the Enhanced Safety of Vehicles (CD-ROM)
Since 1969, when the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) began publishing results of low-speed crash tests to highlight differences in vehicle bumpers, it has been a significant source of information about how the safety of different vehicle designs varies. Currently, IIHS maintains crashworthiness ratings covering five crash modes along with ratings of front crash prevention (FCP) systems and children’s booster seats, as well as annual updates of insurance loss reports from its affiliate, the Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI). This report describes the experience with IIHS’s latest consumer information efforts and identifies the next areas of consumer information to come online. It presents information about the number of vehicle models and booster seats evaluated; their ratings assigned as well as media, consumer, and manufacturer response; and small overlap crashworthiness and FCP ratings. Research underpinning future rating programs addressing Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children (LATCH) and advanced head lighting systems also is summarized. Since launching its booster seat ratings, IIHS has evaluated 200 designs for their ability to adjust rear seat belt fit to booster-age children across a wide variety of rear seat belt configurations. The number of models rated Best Bet, indicating they will provide good belt fit in common passenger vehicles, has increased from a low of 10 in 2008 to 69 in 2014. Media coverage of these annual ratings announcements is estimated to average an audience of 88 million people in the United States. IIHS internet pages with booster ratings are among the most viewed, with an average of 102,800 page views monthly. IIHS began rating vehicle front crashworthiness on the basis of a 64 km/h small overlap crash against a rigid barrier in 2012. Of the 118 currently rated 2015 models, 49 are good, 25 acceptable, 23 marginal, and 21 poor. Several models have been tested in two design iterations with improved performance in the second test, indicating automakers are able to design vehicles to better protect occupants in similar crashes. It is estimated that the media coverage across all small overlap ratings announcements has achieved 1.1 billion views. Surveys of automobile dealers indicate that good ratings in this test have led to increased sales, at least in the short term. IIHS ratings of vehicle FCP systems include both warning and autobraking functions. The proportion of new models available with FCP of any kind has increased from 30 to 60 percent. The combined media coverage of three announcements featuring FCP ratings were viewed 212 million times. While not as strong as for crash test ratings, there was indication that these announcements positively affected sales of vehicles with these systems. Large audiences for IIHS consumer information programs have prompted manufacturers of rated products to make changes in ways indicated by IIHS tests. Based on this experience with current programs, there is good reason to believe that IIHS ratings of LATCH and advanced head lighting systems can also improve vehicle safety.
Working with the media to promote safer roads and vehicles
Proceedings of the 2004 Road Safety, Research, Policing, and Education Conference (CD-ROM)
For the first 50 years or so of motorization, efforts to reduce motor vehicle crash deaths and injuries focused almost exclusively on trying to prevent crashes by changing driver behavior through education. In the 1960s a science-based approach with a much wider range of countermeasures began to be adopted. Under this approach the importance of reducing the consequences of crashes also was recognized. Australia led the world in using some of these newer concepts to introduce the first laws to require motorcycle helmet and safety belt use in the 1960s. In the 1970-80s vehicle safety features designed to reduce the consequences of crashes were added to new cars, largely in response to government regulation. This presentation will review the history of vehicle safety design and the role of the media in creating a vehicle safety marketplace.
Content analysis of television advertising for cars and minivans: 1983-98
Ferguson, Susan A.; Hardy, Andrew P.; Williams, Allan F.
Accident Analysis and Prevention
Very little systematic information is available about the predominant advertising themes automobile manufacturers have depicted over the years. The goal of the present study was to analyze television vehicle advertising to understand how cars and passenger vans are being portrayed in the media and how this has changed over time. A virtually complete sample (561) of car and passenger van advertisements from 1998, and a sample of advertisements from 1983 (98), 1988 (96), and 1993 (95), was analyzed for content. Performance, most often exemplified as speed, power, and maneuverability, was the primary theme in 17% of advertisements in 1998 and was depicted in half of all advertisements. Performance was also the most frequent theme over time. Sales incentives also was a popular theme in each year studied, and was predominant in 1993. Safety was mentioned infrequently, except in 1993; a time when manufacturers were competing to install airbags in their vehicles. A focus on vehicle performance in advertising that does not depict the potential negative consequences can have the deleterious effects of glamorizing and legitimizing high-speed travel. Furthermore, manufacturers are missing an opportunity to promote vehicle safety, a feature that consumers have indicated is very important to them.
A media role for public health compliance?
Kelley, Albert B.
Compliance in Health Care
"All of us who care so much and work so hard to make the people healthier and longer lived would be ever so much more effective-if only those people would cooperate!" That is a not unfair statement of a chief frustration among physicians, public health workers, safety activists, and medical researchers. It is a fact of life that human beings, with their countless differences in habits, biases, preferences, fears, and backgrounds, often seem to be the principal stumbling blocks to the effective implementation of health programs intended to aid those very human beings. "If it weren't for the people, think how much we could help them." The most effective programs for producing desirable public health changes are those that, all other things being equal, do not depend on modifying the behavior of the beneficiaries or those around them. These "passive" approaches that work automatically without relying on individual cooperation (as opposed to "active" approaches that require changed behavior by individuals) have been shown repeatedly throughout public health history to have much higher payoffs, and 'over longer duration, than do the active alternatives.
A controlled study of the effect of television messages on safety belt use
Robertson, Leon S.; Kelley, Albert B.; O'Neill, Brian; Wixom, Charles W.; Eiswirth, Richard S.; Haddon, William Jr.
American Journal of Public Health
A study shows that television campaigns do not have any effect on use of safety belts, thus supporting the argument that approaches directed toward changing behavior are inefficient and often ineffective means of reducing highway losses.
Media reporting of traffic accidents, or telling it like it is
Haddon, William Jr.; Kelley, Albert B.
California Journal of Traffic Safety Education
Media coverage of car crashes
Haddon, William Jr.; Kelley, Albert B.
Traffic Digest and Review
Recently a senior government official associated with highway safety was killed in a road crash. News reports of the incident provided ample information as to the individual, his career, and his family. But tragically -- and ironically, in light of the man's well-known involvement in highway safety -- they included hardly a word about the circumstances of the crash in which he died. Nothing was said, for instance, about ages, makes, models, and safety conditions of the involved vehicles; rapidity and adequacy of emergency system responses; the history and license status of the two involved drivers; characteristics of the crash site, and the numerous other factors that even a cursory investigation would disclose.
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety Officials Deplore Scant Press Treatment of Auto Crashes
Haddon, William Jr.; Kelley, Albert B.
The National Underwriter