November 22, 2003 |Volume 38, Number 10

Special issue: speeding

Faster travel and the price we payDeaths go up as limits are raised

Speed limits have been going up around the country, and the result is more crash deaths.

On rural and urban roads, motorists are traveling faster and faster

When speed limits are raised, drivers simply push past them. Violations continue, and travel speeds creep ever higher.

Car advertising emphasizes speed and performance

Emphasizing performance is one of automakers' favorite ways to sell vehicles.

More and more power

The average horsepower of vehicles increased 65 percent from 1980 to 2000.

No stigma attached to speeding

The perception of speeding is that it's excusable because everybody does it.

September 25, 2003 |Volume 38, Number 9

More head restraints are positioned better to save your neck

When the Institute began rating head restraints in 1995, only 3 percent of vehicles had good ones. By 2003, that number was up to 45 percent.

Many head restraints aren't properly adjusted

Although automakers are improving head restraints, many people aren't benefiting from the changes because they leave their adjustable head restraints in the lowest position.

How head restraint geometry is evaluated

To rate head restraints, IIHS measures from the top of an average-size man's head to the top of the restraint and from the back of the head to the front of the restraint.

Highway safety legislation in the states

Two states get stronger belt laws, but Pennsylvania lawmakers weaken their state's motorcycle helmet use law.

August 26, 2003 |Volume 38, Number 8

Head-protecting side airbags reduce driver fatality risk by 45 percent

In the first study of the real-world effectiveness of head-protecting side airbags, Institute researchers have found they cut driver deaths in side crashes by about 45 percent.

Hand-held cell phone use goes back up in N.Y., despite year-old ban

Once the publicity surrounding New York's ban on hand-held phone use behind the wheel dropped off, drivers went back to their old habits.

In other highway safety news …

A D.C. court upholds automated enforcement; communities plan more roundabouts; a federal agency refuses to allow teenage truckers.

June 28, 2003 |Volume 38, Number 7

Special issue: side impact crashworthiness

First side impact testsHow 12 small SUVs fared

The Institute has conducted its first evaluations of vehicles for side crash protection. Two out of 12 small SUVs tested earn good ratings.

Head protection is key aspect of side impact protection

Head injuries are a leading cause of death in side crashes. Head-protecting side airbags can help.

Side impacts account for a growing share of deaths

Fatality rates are going down because of improved front crash protection. At the same time, the growing number of SUVs and pickups on the road has increased risk in side crashes.

June 16, 2003 |Volume 38, Number 6

New work-hour rules for truckers won't improve safety

Final work-hour rules for truckers come up short, leaving long-haul drivers with too little rest and continuing the use of easily falsified paper logs.

Ford drivers say they like being reminded to buckle up

Most drivers of Fords equipped with Belt Minder systems say they like the reminder and want a system like it in their next car.

June 11, 2003 |Volume 38, Number 5

LATCH makes buckling kids easier, but it still isn't a breeze

Institute researchers found that LATCH generally made installing child restraints easier, but it didn’t work in every vehicle with every seat.

How can child restraints be improved to save more lives?

A study of crashes in which restrained children died shows that current child seats work well. Most such crashes are so severe that there is no potential for survival.

Cars that are good performers in tests protect well in real crashes

Drivers of vehicles that earn four stars in a European testing program are 30 percent less likely to be severely injured than drivers of one-star vehicles.

April 26, 2003 |Volume 38, Number 4

Special issue: vehicle incompatibility in crashes

March 15, 2003 |Volume 38, Number 3

What risk do older drivers pose to themselves and others?

A new study suggests the very oldest drivers are overinvolved in crashes, but they are less likely than teenage drivers to kill or injure other people on the road.

Advanced airbag phase-in gets pushed back slightly

Automakers have won additional time during the early part of the advanced airbag phase-in because of a shortage of parts. The deadline for 100 percent compliance remains the same. 

Unbelted crash test speed is subject of legal challenge

Public Citizen and other groups have asked a federal court to review NHTSA's decision to conduct unbelted airbag testing at 25 mph. The Institute supports NHTSA's decision.

California's emissions plan could hurt safety, Institute tells court

California's zero-emissions requirements could push automakers to subsidize lightweight vehicles that don't offer protection in a crash, the Institute told a federal appeals court recently.

FHWA addresses rail crossing crashes but misses potential of cameras

The Federal Highway Administration has detailed ways to improve the safety of rail crossings but neglects to mention cameras, which have been shown to reduce violations.

February 8, 2003 |Volume 38, Number 2

No recent progressImpaired-driving deaths aren't declining anymore

The percentage of fatally injured drivers who were impaired by alcohol has held steady in recent years. That's one of the trends visible in the latest crash death statistics.

DWI checkpoints work, CDC review shows

A review  of 23 studies by the Centers for Disease Control concludes that regular sobriety checkpoints can significantly reduce crashes involving alcohol.

New law directs NHTSA to develop standards for booster seats

A bill recently signed into law by President Bush directs NHTSA to develop performance requirements for child restraints and boosters for children over 50 pounds.

Is that a functional airbag in your repaired car?

Salvaged or stolen airbags may put consumers at risk. Even more dangerous are fake airbags, which won't function at all in a crash.

January 11, 2003 |Volume 38, Number 1

Washington state sets example for belt use

A newly enacted primary safety belt law, along with stepped-up enforcement, has pushed Washington's belt use rate up to 93 percent.

Drivers opt for more, not less, safety belt law enforcement

Most California drivers say they like their state's belt use law. There's no reason for politicians to shy away from tough belt use enforcement.

OSHA rejects Institute petition on belt use by private sector workers

The Institute is asking the agency to reconsider its denial of a petition to require private-sector workers to buckle up on the job. Such a rule would be cheap and effective.

'Jammers' fail to jam radar but could encourage motorists to speed

The devices don't interfere with enforcement, but they do encourage drivers to speed.

High-BAC drivers killed in crashes aren't always hardcore drinkers

Fatally injured drivers with BACs of 0.15 percent or higher are more likely than other drivers to have a history of problem drinking. However, not all of them fit that profile.