The Lincoln Continental, the Mercedes-Benz E-Class and the Toyota Avalon come out at the top of a group of six large cars recently evaluated by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
The three cars qualify for TOP SAFETY PICK+, the Institute’s highest award. The Tesla Model S, the Chevrolet Impala and the Ford Taurus fall short of any award because they each earn only an acceptable rating in the small overlap front test.
Vehicles qualify for either the TOP SAFETY PICK or TOP SAFETY PICK+ award if they have good ratings from IIHS in five crashworthiness tests — small overlap front, moderate overlap front, side, roof strength and head restraints — and an available front crash prevention system that earns a superior or advanced rating. To qualify for TOP SAFETY PICK+, a vehicle also must come with good or acceptable headlights
Two all-electric vehicles fall short of meeting the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s awards criteria, but consumers who want to minimize gas consumption while also prioritizing safety can choose from two plug-in hybrids that earn the 2017 TOP SAFETY PICK+ award.
The two recently evaluated all-electric models are the 2017 Tesla Model S and the 2017 BMW i3. The plug-in hybrid models are the Chevrolet Volt, whose award was announced in December, and the Toyota Prius Prime.
To qualify for the 2017 TOP SAFETY PICK award, a vehicle must earn good ratings in all five crashworthiness evaluations — small overlap front, moderate overlap front, side, roof strength and head restraints — and come with a front crash prevention system that earns an advanced or superior rating. The “plus” is awarded to vehicles that meet all those criteria and also come with good or acceptable headlights.
Buckling precious cargo into a late-model vehicle has gotten a bit easier in the past year, the Institute’s LATCH ease-of-use ratings show.
IIHS launched its ratings of child seat installation hardware in vehicles in June 2015. Out of 102 vehicles rated at that time, the majority were poor or marginal. Today, a total of 170 current models have been evaluated, and most are good or acceptable. Three models — the Audi Q7, Lexus RX and Toyota Prius — earn the top rating of good+, a distinction that no vehicle achieved last year.
A properly installed, age-appropriate child restraint can protect a child much better in a crash than a safety belt alone. LATCH, which stands for Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children, is intended to make it easier for caregivers to install child restraints properly. Child restraints installed with LATCH are more likely to be put in correctly than restraints installed using the vehicle safety belt, IIHS research has shown.
Even with LATCH, installation errors are common. The Institute’s ratings are based on key ease-of-use criteria that have been shown to minimize mistakes.
Only 3 vehicles of more than 100 evaluated by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety have child restraint installation hardware that earns a good rating for ease of use, while more than half have hardware that is poor or marginal.
The Institute's new LATCH ratings will serve as a resource for families looking for a vehicle that makes it easy to transport their children safely. They also are intended to encourage vehicle manufacturers to pay attention to this equipment and make improvements. Properly installed, age-appropriate child restraints provide considerably more protection for children in crashes than safety belts alone. However, observational studies have found that parents and caregivers often fail to secure them tightly or make other installation mistakes.
LATCH, which stands for Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children, is intended to make it easier to install a child seat properly. It works: Child restraints installed with LATCH, rather than with vehicle safety belts, are more likely to be installed correctly, research has shown. But in many vehicles, LATCH hardware could be better. Parents are more likely to install the seat correctly when the LATCH hardware meets certain key ease-of-use criteria.
The number of vehicles earning either of two awards from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has jumped to 71 from 39 this time last year, giving consumers more choices for optimum protection in crashes. The number of winners in the top tier — TOP SAFETY PICK+ — has increased by 11 for 2015, despite a tougher standard for front crash prevention.
While the bar has been raised for TOP SAFETY PICK+, the criteria for TOP SAFETY PICK are unchanged from 2014: a good or acceptable rating in the challenging small overlap front test and a good rating in each of the Institute's four other crashworthiness evaluations — moderate overlap front, side, roof strength and head restraints. The 2015 TOP SAFETY PICK+ designation is awarded to vehicles that meet those criteria and also have an available front crash prevention system that earns an advanced or superior rating.
Child restraint manufacturers continue to roll out new booster seats that do a good job of improving the way an adult safety belt fits a typical booster-age child. This year, 19 of 31 new models evaluated by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety earn the top rating of BEST BET, and one model is a GOOD BET.
The Institute began rating boosters five years ago because research indicated that most seats weren’t doing a good job of fitting safety belts correctly and consistently on children in a variety of vehicles. Boosters earn a rating of BEST BET, GOOD BET, Check Fit or Not Recommended, based on a protocol that involves measuring how three-point lap and shoulder belts fit a child-size test dummy seated in the booster on a stationary test fixture under four conditions that span the range of safety belt configurations in passenger vehicles. The evaluations focus on safety belt fit and don’t involve crash tests.
Fifteen of 17 booster seats introduced in 2012 earn the top rating of BEST BET from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, evidence that more than ever, manufacturers are designing seats to provide good safety belt fit for booster-age children.
The improvements mean that BEST BET boosters now outnumber seats in any of the three other categories for the first time since the Institute released its inaugural booster ratings in 2008. Boosters are supposed to improve how adult lap and shoulder belts fit children so the belts can properly restrain them in crashes. BEST BET boosters correctly position belts on a typical 4-to-8-year-old child in almost any car, minivan or SUV.
Installing child restraints can frustrate even the most capable of parents. A system called Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children is supposed to make things easier by standardizing attachment hardware, but a new study shows that many automakers aren’t paying attention to the key factors that make LATCH work. Only 21 of the 98 top-selling 2010-11 model passenger vehicles evaluated have LATCH designs that are easy to use. This is the main finding of joint research conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI).
Six Flags Over Georgia’s 11th roller coaster, the highly anticipated DARE DEVIL DIVE, is now open for thrills! The innovative new coaster sends riders over a 10-story vertical lift at a spine-tingling 95 degrees: beyond vertical!
Media, roller coaster enthusiasts and professional test pilots from Lockheed Martin Aeronautics were on hand for the launch of the park’s latest thrill offering. DARE DEVIL DIVE boasts three inversions, zero-gravity hills and high-speed turns. Riders travel in the world’s first “v-shape” trains fitted with lap bar restraints and stadium seating, paying homage to World War II-era stunt planes and the daring pilots that thrilled onlookers with their incredible aerial acrobatics. The ride soars at a blistering 52 miles per hour as it makes its way through 2,090 feet of twisted steel track.
To view Multimedia News Release, go to http://multivu.prnewswire.com/mnr/sixflags/48781/
Boosters are better than they used to be at fitting lap and shoulder belts on 4 to 8-year-old kids to restrain them in a crash - so parents don\'t have to search as hard for a good fit for their child and vehicle. Most belt-positioning boosters, though, don\'t offer consistently good fit in all vehicles. This is the bottom line in the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety\'s third round of booster evaluations.
Researchers assessed the safety belt fit of 72 boosters, assigning the best ones the top ratings of BEST BET or GOOD BET because they correctly position belts on average booster-age kids in most vehicles. The worst performers are ones the Institute doesn\'t recommend because they do a poor job of fitting belts. A good booster routes the lap belt across a child\'s upper thighs and positions the shoulder belt at midshoulder.