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News from the Institutes: 1999


Most large luxury cars do well in IIHS front crash test

New crash tests of three large luxury cars and four large family cars show that vehicle crashworthiness is improving. All three luxury cars and two of the family cars earn good ratings.

December 8, 1999

Tests of 7 large cars show bumpers are inadequate

Seven large family and luxury cars sustained extensive and costly damage in a series of four low-speed crash tests. The 5 mph impacts compare how well bumpers resist damage in the kinds of impacts that frequently occur in commuter traffic and parking lots. In these tests, none of the seven cars' bumper systems did an effective job of preventing unnecessary damage.

September 28, 1999

Choose a safe vehicle for your teen driver

It may be hard to imagine handing your teenager the keys to your brand new car, but that may be the smartest vehicle to choose for them. Teens should drive vehicles that offer the best protection and reduce their chances of a crash.

September 21, 1999

2 midsize SUVs earn top crash ratings

The 1999 Mercedes M class and Lexus RX 300 are the best midsize SUVs that IIHS has tested in 40 mph frontal offset impacts. In contrast, the Mitsubishi Montero Sport is rated poor. These three SUVs are among a group of six with new designs or substantial redesigns recently tested.

July 7, 1999

SUV bumpers don't resist damage

Some automakers are improving the bumpers on their cars so consumers are less likely to face expensive repairs from low-speed collisions, but these improvements aren't carrying over to SUVs. They still have bumpers that typically allow expensive damage in low-speed crashes.

June 16, 1999

Head restraint designs improve in 1999 models

The head restraints in about a third of all 1999 passenger vehicles are poorly designed. Only 1 in 20 of 1999 cars, pickups and SUVs earns a good rating for head restraint design. Disappointing as these findings are, they represent an improvement over 1997 models, half of which were equipped with head restraints rated poor.

June 3, 1999

SUVs have highest theft losses for 4th year

Three of the five passenger vehicles with the highest insurance losses for theft are SUVs — the Range Rover, Mitsubishi Montero, and Montero Sport. This is the fourth year in a row SUVs have dominated the "worst" list. Overall theft losses for the 1996-98 Range Rover are more than 12 times higher than the average for all cars.

May 25, 1999

Crash test results improve in 6 of 10 vehicles

When automakers redesign their passenger vehicles, more of them than ever are paying attention to aspects of occupant crash protection that go beyond government requirements. In particular, vehicles' structural designs are being improved to do a better job of preventing intrusion into the occupant compartment and preserving the space for occupants to survive.

April 14, 1999

Tests show how head-protecting side airbags could help

For the first time, automakers are beginning to offer side airbags with head protection in more popular and less expensive passenger vehicles. Ford Motor Company rolled out its new side airbags for 1999 models, and crash tests conducted by IIHS demonstrate the potential benefits of this safety technology in side crashes.

April 6, 1999

Many children still ride unrestrained or in front seat

Parents and other drivers on U.S. roads still have a long way to go when it comes to protecting children in motor vehicles. Despite extensive publicity aimed at getting children restrained and riding in the rear seats of vehicles, observational surveys in three states show many children still riding unrestrained.

March 30, 1999

Two car models get better bumpers

Hyundai improved the bumpers on the 1999 Elantra, compared with previous models of this car, and Mitsubishi improved the new Galant's bumpers. In contrast, the bumpers on the redesigned 1999 Mazda Protege are substantially inferior to those on the 1997 model.

March 10, 1999

Teen crash risk is lower with graduated licensing

Graduated licensing is an increasingly popular approach to reducing new drivers' risk of collisions. Experts at IIHS in the United States and the Traffic Injury Research Foundation in Canada have released research on the core provisions needed in graduated licensing laws to ensure significant reductions in collisions and injuries.

January 20, 1999

Traffic deaths increase in states that raised speed limits

The higher speed limits introduced in 24 states during late 1995 and 1996 resulted in increased motor vehicle deaths during 1996-97. IIHS researchers compared the numbers of motor vehicle occupant deaths in these 24 states from the time speed limits were raised through 1997 with corresponding fatality counts for the same months in the six years before the speed limits were changed.

January 14, 1999

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