Top Safe Automobiles in 2020

If you’re in the market for a new automobile, or just wondering if the one you’re driving is safe, then you’ve probably heard about the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) safety ratings.

The IIHS tests differ from the federal National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) tests, which focuses on full-frontal crash testing. IIHS testing uses frontal offset crash testing – where the impact in an accident is concentrated on one side of a vehicle’s front end – which is similar to tests performed in Europe and Australia. According to the IIHS, frontal offset crash testing is meant to complement the full-frontal testing performed by the NHTSA, and results of testing by both organizations are good sources of safety information for consumers.

What’s new for 2020 safety ratings?

The IIHS has toughened its standards for 2020. Stricter criteria for crash testing means it’s more difficult than ever to be selected as a Top Safety Pick. These new standards are also delaying the IIHS’ process. While usually announced in November, the awards announcements have been pushed into the new year.

Why the need for stricter standards? Many of the existing Good scores were awarded because an optional set of headlights scored well on visibility testing. Not every trim scored Acceptable or higher on previous tests, and the IIHS says they want to encourage consumers to take this into account when shopping. Auto companies don’t often emphasize this distinction, instead using their best score to market the model as a whole.

How do American cars rate?

In 2019, 30 vehicles were awarded Top Safety Pick+ honors. None were American-made. While the Chrysler Pacifica made the initial list of 2019 IIHS Top Safety Pick nominees, it wasn’t awarded with the Pick+ designation. This follows a decade of American automakers falling short of cinching IIHS awards. Instead, Japanese and Korean auto manufacturers have led the pack.

Do crash test ratings even matter?

A recent Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) study found that crash test ratings from NHTSA and IIHS were good predictors of crash worthiness for passenger cars, but not for pickup trucks or SUVs. The one to five star ratings from NHTSA and poor to good ratings from IIHS were found to correlate well to “real-world” crash data for passenger cars. Cars that rated one star or poor were indeed more likely to be involved in a fatal accident than cars with five stars or a good rating. However, when researchers examined the same data for trucks, the results were unsettling – a five star or good rated truck was found to be no safer than a one star or poorly rated truck. The researchers did caution that the sample size of data was relatively small, so NHTSA and IIHS test results for trucks should not be thrown out the window completely.

Virginia Car Accident Lawyers – Free consultations.

If you’re in the Norfolk, Tidewater, Virginia Beach, or Richmond area and you or somebody you love has been involved in a serious automobile accident, please contact the law office of Richard Serpe, PC immediately. Mr. Serpe has over 33 years of experience as a trial lawyer, and will work with you to make sure you get the justice you deserve. Contact Mr. Serpe today for a no-cost, no-obligation review of your case, and find out why Virginians turn to his law office when they need a skilled and compassionate attorney on their side.