Automobiles Struggle To Meet New Top Safety Pick Benchmark

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Recently, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety updated their ratings system to take into account how automobiles would fare when involved in a type of crash known as a small overlap crash test.  This is the name given to when the corner of a vehicle becomes the initial contact point during a crash.  In addition, they also began to weigh how given automobiles would prevent frontal crashes from happening through such systems as automatic brakes or warnings to the driver.

Because of these new tests, there have been fewer automobiles garnering the coveted IIHS Top Safety Pick and Top Safety Pick+ ratings that you see touted in marketing materials.  The situation was explored recently in the New York Times.  Although the new testing method hasn’t seemed to affect the Top Safety Pick+ category, where 22 vehicles have earned that designation this year (up from 13 last year), the difference is pronounced in terms of the Top Safety Pick tag for 2014 vehicles.

Only 17 automobiles earned that distinction this year.  That is 100 fewer than the 117 that obtained the same in 2012.  As a result, you may see far fewer commercials that reference the IIHS’s findings.

In rolling out this first set of award recipients, which will continue to be revised throughout 2014 as new vehicles arrive, the IIHS noted that vehicles that were previously able to gain the Top Safety Pick designations but have fallen off the list will still be able to protect vehicle occupants in other regards.