Safer car models help prevent the likelihood of serious injuries in the event of a crash. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) test and rate vehicles to assist consumers with making smart buying decisions.
How Are Vehicles Evaluated?
The IIHS evaluates vehicles for two safety aspects: crashworthiness and crash avoidance and mitigation. When determining crashworthiness, the IIHS rates vehicles based on their performance in six tests. Cars are rated poor, marginal, acceptable or good. Track testing of vehicles that are equipped with front crash prevention systems provides ratings of basic, advanced or superior. The IIHS also evaluates headlights with the same grading system used for crashworthiness.
The NHTSA uses a 5-Star Safety rating program to evaluate the performance of vehicles in four types of real-life crash scenarios. Frontal, side barrier, side pole and rollover crash scenarios are used for NHTSA testing purposes. These scenarios represent the most common accident-types on roadways in the United States. The scores are combined into a single rating to give car buyers an overall picture of a vehicle safety.
Car manufacturers have been required to post safety ratings on new car labels since 2006. Both organizations offer online tools that consumers can use to compare vehicle safety ratings before choosing a new vehicle.
Recommended Safety Features to Look For
Safety features like front and side airbags and seat belts help protect drivers and passengers in the event of an accident. But tire pressure monitoring systems (TPMS) and driver assistance technologies can prevent accidents from occurring in the first place. When purchasing a car, the NHTSA recommends cars that feature driver assistance technologies, including:
- Forward collision warning
- Lane departure warning
- Rearview video system
- Automatic emergency braking
Injuries from Unsafe Vehicles
Staying informed about available safety features and understanding how cars compare to others in their class can help consumers choose safer vehicles that reduce the risk of serious injuries in an accident. When people are injured from unsafe vehicles, injury victims have the right to seek compensation by filing a personal injury claim. In addition to recovering compensation for property damage, victims may be entitled to money for medical bills, lost wages, pain, and suffering, and more.