New IIHS test aims to increase protection in frontal crashes

  • 16-Aug-2012 10:45 EDT

Of the 11 midsize luxury and near-luxury cars tested, only three scored good or acceptable in the new small overlap frontal crash test from IIHS.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has raised the bar with its new small overlap frontal crash test. With a 50th percentile male Hybrid III dummy in the driver seat, 25% of the car’s front end on the driver side strikes a 5-ft-tall rigid barrier at 40 mph. These small overlap crashes, which affect the outer edges not protected by crush-zone structures, are responsible for a considerable percentage of the 10,000 deaths in frontal crashes each year. The test utilizes three rating categories: structure, restraints and kinematics, and dummy injury measures. Of the vehicles tested, the Volvo S60 performed the best, permitting only a few inches of intrusion into the occupant compartment due to reinforcement of the upper rails and a steel cross member below the instrument panel. Common problems with other vehicles included high occupant compartment intrusion and unsafe occupant motion, including dummies that missed the airbag or moved too far forward toward the A-pillar. After 2013, the IIHS intends to add the small overlap frontal crash test to its list of evaluations for the Top Safety Pick award.



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