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News from the Institutes: 1998


Black and Hispanic children at high risk of crash death

Per mile traveled, black and Hispanic male teenagers are nearly twice as likely to die in a motor vehicle crash as male teens who are white. The risk of black children ages 5 to 12 dying in a crash per mile of travel is almost three times as great as that of white children.

December 14, 1998

New Volvo seatback and head restraint reduce whiplash

The first U.S. crash tests conducted with the world's most advanced rear impact dummy show that the new seatback/head restraint combination in the Volvo S80 successfully reduces the sudden motion of the head that causes many whiplash injuries. The new design represents an improvement even when compared with other Volvos, which are among the best designs for whiplash injury prevention.

December 8, 1998

Small SUVs range from good to poor in crash tests

Only one of the small SUVs tested in a 40 mph frontal offset crash earns a good overall rating, and only one is rated poor. Half of the vehicles tested earn marginal ratings.

November 10, 1998

Head restraints with good ratings reduce neck injuries

Car head restraints that are high and positioned close to the backs of drivers' heads reduce whiplash-type neck injuries in crashes, a new study shows. The research was conducted jointly by IIHS and State Farm.

September 22, 1998

Summer brings more crash deaths among teens

As predictable as summer sun is the tragic increase in crashes that kill 16-year-old drivers and their peers. This summer has been no exception.

September 3, 1998

IIHS applauds NHTSA for encouraging new side airbags

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has changed a rule to encourage the use of airbags that deploy from vehicles' upper interiors to protect people's heads in side crashes.

July 30, 1998

Bumpers on small SUVs don't prevent costly damage

Seven small SUVs, all 1998 models, allowed excessive damage in a series of four crash tests at 5 mph. Only the Subaru Forester and Jeep Wrangler sustained less than $3,000 total damage. The worst performer, the Kia Sportage, allowed damage costing more than $7,000 to repair. The Sportage's average damage per test was more than $1,800.

July 21, 1998

SUVs have highest theft losses

For the third year in a row, the two passenger vehicles with the highest insurance losses for theft are the Toyota Land Cruser and the Mitsubishi Montero. Both are midsize four-wheel-drive utility vehicles.

June 23, 1998

Red light running crashes are on the rise

Drivers who run red lights are responsible for an estimated 260,000 crashes each year, of which approximately 750 are fatal — and the number is rising. Red light runners tend to be younger than other drivers and have poor driving records and histories of alcohol use.

May 20, 1998

Small pickups disappoint in crash tests

None of the small pickup trucks tested in a crash at 40 mph earn a good rating from IIHS. "These pickups sustained too much damage in our low-speed crash tests, and they don't pass muster when it comes to high-speed crashworthiness tests either," says Institute President Brian O'Neill.

May 12, 1998

Safety of new Beetle is far from retro

The Volkswagen New Beetle's crashworthiness performance is as up-to-the-minute as its styling is retro. In fact, the New Beetle sets the standard among small cars for how well it protects its occupants in serious crashes.

May 4, 1998

New Beetle's bumpers protect against damage

The Volkswagen New Beetle is equipped with excellent bumpers. Both front and rear bumpers will prevent much of the damage that can occur in low-speed collisions — the kind of crash that frequently happens in congested urban traffic. This is the finding of a series of four crash tests conducted at 5 mph to assess bumper performance.

April 28, 1998

Driver death rate soars among 16 year-olds

The overall driver death rate declined during 1975-96 from 15 to 12 per 100,000 licensed drivers. But among 16 year-olds, the death rate was trending upward, and this trend was more extreme. The rate increased among 16-year-old drivers from 19 per 100,000 in 1975 to 35 per 100,000 licensed drivers in 1996, and the increase occurred among both males and females.

April 14, 1998

Chevrolet S-10 bumpers are 'the best of a bad lot'

In four crash tests at only 5 mph, the 1998 Toyota Tacoma pickup truck racked up more than $4,000 damage. The best small pickup tested, Chevrolet's S-10 model, sustained more than $2,000 damage in the same four tests. Two other 1998 model pickups didn't perform much better than the Tacoma.

April 7, 1998

New car designs come with improved crash protection

The Toyota Sienna and Volkswagen Passat, both new designs for the
1998 model year, earn the highest ratings in the Institute's latest round of crashworthiness evaluations. An earlier model of the Passat earned a poor rating. So did the forerunner model to the Sienna, the Toyota Previa.

March 4, 1998

Sports, luxury cars have highest collision losses

Insurance losses for vehicle damage typically are highest, or worst, for sports cars and luxury cars. Passenger vans and station wagons typically have the lowest collision losses, says a new study by HLDI.

February 24, 1998

Study examines effect of vehicle weight on death rate

As bigger and heavier SUVs get ever more popular, is incompatibility between vehicles in crashes becoming a big safety problem on U.S. roads? A comprehensive new study addresses this issue. The study focuses on fatal crashes involving 1990-95 model cars, pickups, and SUVs.

February 10, 1998

Volkswagen, Nissan and Lexus improve bumpers

Responding to poor performance in 5 mph crash tests by IIHS, three automakers have improved car bumpers. Nissan and Volkswagen upgraded both front and rear bumpers on their Maxima and Passat models, and Toyota improved the rear bumpers on its Lexus LS 400.

January 22, 1998

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