Are you looking to purchase a new vehicle? You might want to check out the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s Top Safety Pick List. IIHS is a non-profit organization funded by auto insurance companies. The group works toward reducing the number of vehicle collisions and injuries by researching and product-testing popular passenger vehicles. Earlier this month, IIHS released its annual list of Top Safety Picks. More than 60 vehicles qualified for a safety award under new criteria that focuses on passenger safety, pedestrian protection, and nighttime visibility.
2020 Safety Criteria
IIHS has been awarding its Top Safety Pick rating since the 2006 model year, and the Top Safety Pick+ ratings since 2013. To qualify for the IIHS Top Safety Pick award, vehicles must have good ratings in each of the crashworthiness evaluations. The vehicles must also have acceptable or good headlights and a front crash prevention system with advance or superior ratings in vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-person evaluations. IIHS awards its Top Safety Pick+ status to vehicles that come exclusively with acceptable or good headlights.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety bases its ratings in part on a series of crashworthiness evaluations. By continually toughening its safety standards, IIHS encourages auto manufacturers to make design changes that better protect its occupants. Safety improvements mean better outcomes for the driver, passengers, and those outside the vehicle.
- Frontal Crash Test: A frontal crash is one of the most common and fatal accidents. IIHS conducts three different front crash tests: a moderate overlap test, a driver-side small overlap test, and a passenger-side small overlap test. Engineers evaluate how the structure holds up and the amount of crash test dummy movement and injury.
- Side Crash Test: Side crashes account for about 25% of fatal vehicle collisions because the side of the vehicle does not have much room for absorbing energy and protecting the vehicle’s occupants. In this test, engineers look at structural performance, anti-injury measures (ex: airbags), and head protection.
- Roof Strength: Thousands of people are killed each year in vehicle rollover accidents. In order to protect the vehicle occupants, automakers have strengthened the roof structure and include electronic stability control as well as airbags. Engineers evaluate the strength of the roof and its ability to maintain an occupant survival space when the vehicle hits the ground.
- Head Restraints and Seats: Neck sprains and strains are one of the most commonly reported injuries following a vehicle collision. In order to prevent these injuries, those evaluating the vehicles look for secure head restraints and minimal movement and injury to the crash test dummies.
- Headlights: Headlights help protect the driver by improving visibility and illuminating any potential obstacles. Good visibility is key to avoiding crashes. To qualify for the IIHS Top Safety Pick list, a vehicle must have headlights that are rated acceptable or good across all trim levels and packages.
- Front Crash Prevention: In order for a vehicle to earn a spot on the Top Safety Pick list, the trim package must also include front crash prevention. A front crash prevention system helps drivers avoid collisions with vehicles ahead of them by warning the driver when a crash is imminent, prompting them to brake or steer to avoid a crash.
- Pedestrian Crash Prevention System: This year, the IIHS expanded its scope of safety evaluations by looking at those outside the vehicle – pedestrians. Pedestrian deaths are on the rise, and IIHS is encouraging automakers to equip vehicles with pedestrian detection technology. Engineers evaluated the vehicle performance in three different situations: 1) an adult stepping in front of an oncoming vehicle, 2) a child running from behind a parked car into the street, and 3) an adult in the travel lane, facing away from traffic.
2020 Top Safety Pick Winners
Hyundai Motor Group (Hyundai, Kia, Genesis brands) earned the most IIHS Top Safety Pick awards overall, with 14 vehicles on the list. Mazda earned the most Top Safety Pick+ awards, with five vehicles on that list. Chrysler, Fiat, and Mitsubishi did not have any vehicles on either IIHS list this year. Additionally, there were no minivans or pickup trucks on the 2020 lists, because these vehicles do not have automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection. For the full list of winners, click here.
Need Help With Your Personal Injury Case? Contact Burrow & Associates, LLC
If you are in the market for a new vehicle, it is important (and potentially life-saving!) to choose a vehicle that performs well in a crash and has the built-in safety technology and equipment to protect the driver, passenger(s), and nearby pedestrians. The IIHS Top Safety Pick lists are an excellent resource and starting point. If you, or someone you know, have been injured in a vehicle accident and needs help with their personal injury case, please contact Burrow & Associates at (678) 323-2394 or via our website.