Group raises standards for safest vehicle awards this year - WNEM TV 5

Group raises standards for safest vehicle awards this year

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Source: CBS Source: CBS

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety is out with its list of the safest vehicles and this year the IIHS is making the criteria more difficult for automakers to earn a top grade.

>>See the full list here<<

Crash tests have long been a key element in how the IIHS safety rates vehicles. Hits to front on the driver's side are always analyzed, but this year the group added a new test - crashes to the front on the passenger side.

"We've been doing small overlap frontal crash tests on the driver's side since 2012 and we've seen a lot of improvement on that side but we weren't seeing that kind of for passengers,” said Adrian Lund, IIHS president.

Fifteen vehicles earned the group's highest award of Top Safety Pick Plus. It’s a drop from last year, though, and the new crash tests are not the only reason why.

The IIHS is also raising its standards for headlights.

"We rate headlamps because when we look at how they light up the road many of them aren't doing a very good job,” Lund said. “The difference between a headlamp that rates as good as far as how far down the road you can see and one that we rate as poor, it literally is night and day and we think it's important that manufacturers improve how lamps light up the road because the most serious crashes happen at night."

Vehicles that come with autobraking also earn high marks.

Automakers have pledged to make it a standard feature by 2022.

“Cars are safer now than they ever have been,” Lund said.

Lund believes with even more improvements in crash test performance and headlights, vehicles will be even safer down the road.

No minivans or pickup trucks received a Top Safety Pick Plus award.

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