New IIHS test rates car crash avoidance

September 27, 2013 12:00 AM

Safety has always been a top priority for consumers in choosing a car, and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has implemented a new test for obtaining the Top Safety Pick+ rating that could simplify the decision-making process. The organization's mission is to encourage automakers to utilize those optimal safety features, while helping consumers select vehicles with the most advanced capabilities and reducing their spending on auto repair. According to Consumer Reports, after studies by the Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI) showed that forward collision warning and automatic braking systems are useful in preventing common crashes, the IIHS added a new program to rate automobiles' accident avoidance capabilities.

The test
Consumer Reports revealed that the scoring system is based on how effectively the vehicle can slow down at 12 and 25 mph as well as avoid a collision. Cars can achieve a "Basic" rating if they have a forward collision warning system that meets the National Highway Safety Administration's standards, regardless of whether they have the braking capability. However, to win the "Advanced" rating, the vehicles need to have the ability to reduce speeds by a minimum of 5 mph in at least one test, as well as be able to brake automatically. Cars rated as "Superior" can greatly reduce speeds in both tests or thwart a crash completely, and also have automatic braking features.

The results
According to AutoBlog, the IIHS put 74 midsize vehicles through the test. Only six cars received the Advanced rating, while 25 earned the Basic rating. A total of 36 automobiles had no crash avoidance system at all. Subaru's Legacy and Outback models, which both use EyeSight technology to avoid collisions, received the top slots in this test. Cadillac's Automatic Collision Preparation feature reduced speeds in the ATS and SRX models for the 25 mph test, and successfully prevented a crash at the lower speed. The Mercedes-Benz C-Class as well as the Volvo S60 and XC60 models, which are equipped with City Safety, Collision Warning with Auto Brake and Pedestrian Detection capabilities, received a Superior rating.

The main objective for these tests is to improve road safety, but AutoBlog noted that the IIHS is also aiming to reduce expenses, such as brake repair and tire replacement, following an accident. In one test, a 2013 Mercedes C-Class was crashed into a Chevy Malibu. When the vehicles collided at 25 mph, the damage was worth $28,131, while the total costs only amounted to $5,715 at 12 mph.

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