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News from the Institutes: 2000


Best and worst state traffic safety laws

For the first time, IIHS has conducted a comprehensive assessment of key traffic safety laws in every state and the District of Columbia. Researchers rated laws on alcohol-impaired driving, young driver licensing, safety belts, child restraints, motorcycle helmets and laws allowing red light cameras.

December 20, 2000

New crash tests show benefits of side airbags for heads

Many new cars are being equipped with airbags designed to protect people's heads in side impacts. New IIHS crash tests of the BMW X5 and Volvo S80 demonstrate the important benefits of these side airbag head protection systems.

December 14, 2000

BMW X5 is best midsize SUV in frontal offset test

Among midsize SUVs recently tested in frontal offset impacts at 40 mph, the best performer is the 2001 model BMW X5. In fact, this is the best midsize SUV that IIHS has tested. The worst performer in the new tests is the Isuzu Trooper, which is rated marginal.

November 14, 2000

Of 5 SUVs tested, only 1 has decent bumpers

Some manufacturers are improving bumpers so that consumers are less likely to face expensive repairs from low-speed collisions, but these improvements aren't carrying over to SUVs. Four of the five midsize SUVs recently tested allowed excessive damage in a series of 5 mph crash tests.

September 13, 2000

Thanks to new airbag design, Volvo S80 earns 'best pick'

Volvo has changed the design of the airbags in its S80s for the 2001 model year, and the changes mean the new model earns the highest crashworthiness rating — "best pick" — from IIHS. The 2000 model S80 was rated good, but it wasn't a "best pick" because of concerns about the airbag design.

August 7, 2000

Immobilizing antitheft devices drive down theft losses

Now that a number of auto manufacturers are installing passive immobilizing antitheft devices in passenger vehicles, thefts of these vehicles are being reduced. This is reflected in overall insurance losses for vehicle theft, which have been reduced an average of about 50 percent for vehicles with antitheft devices, which keep vehicles from being driven without the proper key.

July 19, 2000

More than 800 fatalities a year involve red light running

Each year more than 800 people die and an estimated 200,000-plus are injured in crashes that involve red light running. Total deaths in such crashes numbered almost 6,000 during 1992-98. More than half of these deaths were pedestrians and occupants in other vehicles who were hit by the red light runners.

July 13, 2000

Some new car designs result in better crash test results

Seven new vehicles representing six updated designs plus one brand new model have been tested in frontal offset crashes at 40 mph. Two of the six cars with updated designs show improvements since the last time they were tested by IIHS, and the other four models retain their previous crashworthiness ratings.

June 21, 2000

Mercedes car has highest theft losses

The Mercedes S class, a very large luxury car, heads the list of passenger vehicles with the highest insurance losses for theft. Overall losses for this car are 10 times higher than the average for all passenger cars. This is the first time in five years that a SUV hasn't topped HLDI's list of vehicles with the worst theft losses.

June 14, 2000

New midsize luxury cars do well in frontal crash tests

Five new cars, all midsize luxury models, have been tested in frontal offset impacts at 40 mph. Three cars are rated good — the BMW 328i, Volvo S80 and Cadillac Catera. The other two midsize luxury cars, Saab 9-5 and Audi A6, are rated acceptable. These ratings are based primarily on performance in 40 mph crash tests conducted by IIHS.

May 31, 2000

1 midsize inexpensive car earns good crash test rating

Among seven midsize inexpensive four-door cars recently subjected to 40 mph frontal offset crash tests, only one earns a good overall evaluation for crashworthiness. The top-performing Subaru Legacy, a 2000 model, also earns a "best pick" designation. In contrast, the 1999 Daewoo Leganza turned in the worst crash test performance, earning an overall evaluation of poor.

April 11, 2000

Low-speed crash tests reveal disappointing bumpers

Seventeen new cars, all 1999 and 2000 models, turned in mostly disappointing results in 5 mph crash tests conducted to assess how well the bumpers resist costly damage in the kinds of impacts that frequently occur in commuter traffic and parking lots. The worst performers overall were the 2000 Mazda MPV and the Volvo S80.

March 29, 2000

Sports cars have highest collision insurance losses

Sports cars and luxury cars continue to have the worst insurance losses among passenger cars for crash damage repairs under collision coverage. Passenger vans have the best loss results.

February 23, 2000

Cosmetic crash parts are irrelevant to auto safety

The source of a car's cosmetic crash parts is irrelevant to crashworthiness. This is demonstrated in a new IIHS crash test of a Toyota Camry from which the front-end cosmetic parts were removed.

February 17, 2000

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