Insurance Institute for Highway Safety

Insurance Institute for Highway Safety

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety is a U.S. non-profit organization funded by auto insurers. It works to reduce the number of motor vehicle crashes, and the rate of injuries and amount of property damage in the crashes that still occur. It carries out research and produces ratings for popular passenger vehicles as well as for certain consumer products such as child car booster seats. [ [ IIHS Says 13 Child Booster Seats Are Unsafe] The Auto Writer, October 9, 2008. Retrieved October 9, 2008.]


The Institute's crash testing differs from that of the NHTSA New Car Assessment Program (governmental) in that its tests are offset from the center. This test exposes 40% of the front of the vehicle to an impact with a deformable barrier at approximately 40 mph (64 km/h). Because only 40% of the vehicle's front must stand the impact, it shows the structural strength better than the US government's NHTSA New Car Assessment Program full-width testing does. Many real-life frontal impacts are offset.

The IIHS uses four ratings for each category, Good (best, green G), Acceptable (yellow A), Marginal (orange M) and Poor (worst, red P). Vehicles which score Good in all the various rating categories, or which have only one Acceptable category, are given Best Pick designations. [ [ Vehicle Ratings] IIHS. Retrieved October 9, 2008.]

As with NHTSA's New Car Assessment Program testings, vehicles across different categories may not be directly compared.

The IIHS recenlty introduced a side impact test. The NHTSA has a New Car Assessment Program test's low barrier. The IIHS uses an elevated barrier to simulate the impact of an SUV (approximately half of all new cars sold) into the side of the vehicle being tested. This is a very demanding test of both the structural integrity of the vehicle, as well as the restraints. While most new vehicles achieve 4-5 stars from the NHTSA (where head injuries are not part of the rating), many do not score well in the IIHS side impact test.

The IIHS also evaluates vehicles' bumpers in a series of 5 mph (8 km/h) impacts, as well as seat and head restraint designs in relation to rear-impact protection, using the same Poor-Good rating system.

The IIHS and NHTSA tests can differ wildly. For example, the NHTSA graded the Chevrolet Venture (also marketed as Oldsmobile Silhouette, Pontiac Montana/TransSport) as 4/5 stars, but the IIHS graded it "Poor" for its poor structural integrity which becomes apparent in the offset crash test. The same applies for the 1997-2003 Ford F-150.

Top Safety Pick Award

Top Safety Pick Award is an annual award to the safest cars of the year. The specifics of the Top Safety Picks ratings have changed over the years as the rating system has evolved. The winning vehicles for 2008 can be found [ here] . Past winners can be found on the IIHS web site.


External links

* [ Official site]

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