When researching new cars for your next vehicle purchase you might want to take a closer look at the ratings for front crash safety, especially passenger- and driver-side safety. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) conducts safety tests on dozens of vehicle models every year and bestows its TOP SAFETY RATING on those who pass the most tests.
Recent reviews of IIHS testing methods have revealed a gap in the assessment of passenger safety versus driver safety, a problem the Institute is determined to rectify by 2018.
Front-end Crash Testing Focuses on Only the Driver’s Safety
In 2012, the IIHS added the small overlap front crash test to its list of safety qualifications. This test simulates how a vehicle reacts to impact with an object 25 percent of the width of the front end of the vehicle. The crashes are similar to what would happen if the car struck a utility pole or clipped another vehicle.
After the IIHS put this test to use, 13 automakers redesigned the front ends of 97 vehicle models to improve front-end crash safety. However, there was a gap in the testing and improvement — none of the manufacturers considered the same type of impact on the passenger’s side.
Currently, the small overlap front crash test only focuses on crashes that happen to the 25 percent of the front end located on the driver’s side of the vehicle.
It is easy to see why the focus was on the driver — every vehicle has a driver, but not all vehicles carry passengers. However, this oversight could prove fatal. This is why the IIHS’s commitment to accurate safety ratings has led it to look into passenger-side crash ratings.
Vehicles with Good Driver-side Ratings Fared Poorly in Passenger-side Tests
To improve the accuracy of its front-end crash ratings, the IIHS put seven small SUVs with good driver-side protection ratings through the small overlap front crash test, but on the passenger side.
Only one vehicle, the 2016 Hyundai Tucson, passed with a good rating. The other six vehicles scored only adequate or worse.
The lowest-scoring vehicle, Toyota’s 2015 RAV4, allowed 13 more inches of intrusion into the passenger’s space than the driver’s space in the same test. What is more, the impact ripped open the RAV4’s passenger door, increasing the chances of passenger ejection.
Working Toward Better Passenger Protection
The IIHS has announced it may start implementing the passenger-side small overlap front crash tests in 2017. Once implemented, the institute might make the test a requirement to meet its 2018 parameters to receive a TOP SAFETY RATING.
It is important to remember that the best safety feature in your vehicle is an alert and careful driver. The car accident attorneys at Coffey Trial Law in Fort Lauderdale are here to help Florida drivers and passengers who suffer serious injuries in accidents caused by negligent or reckless drivers. Call us at 954-541-3194 to schedule a free initial consultation to discuss your case.