Buying a safe, reliable vehicle is one step towards protecting yourself on the road. If you are looking for a vehicle for somebody in your family or if you need a new car for yourself, you should take advantage of some of the many research resources available to help you make a sound decision.
One source of online vehicle safety rating information is the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). The Institute recently released their list of vehicle that earned the Top Safety Pick award for 2010. This year there are 27 cars and SUVs that earned the top award, and some interesting omissions.
Required safety features
For a vehicle to make it onto the IIHS Top Safety Pick list, it must earn good ratings in each of the four most common types of auto accidents: front, side, rear and rollover crashes (rollover testing is new for this year). Vehicles must also be equipped with electronic stability control, which according to research can significantly reduce the risk of a crash.
Rollover safety new for 2010
Roof strength is a big issue for the IIHS, as a strong roof can protect vehicle occupants in a rollover accident. Adding a rollover test to the criteria for making it onto the Top Safety Pick list has reduced the number of top vehicles from 94 in 2009 to only 27 in 2010.
Rollover accidents kill over 9,000 people every year, and according to the IIHS a strong roof can reduce the chance of dying in a rollover crash by about 50 percent. The institute defines strong roofs as those that are twice as strong as the current federal standard.
Major vehicle manufacturers fail to make the grade
A big surprise on the IIHS Top Safety Pick award list is what isn’t there. A number of large, respected manufacturers that have made a strong showing in the past failed to get a single model on the list this year. Toyota, Lexus, Scion, BMW, Mazda, Mitsubishi and Saab all had vehicles on the list last year, but did not have a single one on the 2010 list.
Continuous safety improvements
Pressure from ratings like the IIHS Top Picks list is one reason that today’s vehicles are safer than those from years past. According to the IIHS, of all 2010 vehicle models sold in the United States, 99 percent of SUVs, 92 percent of cars and 66 percent of pickup trucks are equipped with standard side airbags that include head protection. Not only that, but for 2010 100 percent of SUVs, 85 percent of cars and 62 percent of pickup trucks are equipped with electronic stability control.
You can review the list of 2010 Top Safety Picks at the IIHS website. If you need help after a motor vehicle crash, the attorneys at Dulaney, Lauer & Thomas can help you. Please contact one of our Northern Virginia offices to discuss your case for no cost or obligation with one of our experienced auto accident lawyers.
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