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Crash Tests:
Opposition to the IIHS Offset Crash Test

Alex Steele
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Periodically I see reports on the latest crash tests by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. The last one I saw, testing small cars, they showed interviews with several automotive manufacturer representatives stating their opposition to the tests. They were stressing the point of how rarely this serious an accident occurs. I was wondering about your opinion on this subject.




I too have heard opposition to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's 40 mph offset crash test, and realistically they don't have a case. It's fairly obvious why certain new car manufacturers would be trying to downplay these tests. Their cars haven't done well, and it affects their volume of sales.


Before the Institute began the offset procedure, independent crash testing was done solely by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). These cars are crashed into a solid barrier at a speed of 35 mph. This is a very credible test that shows the strengths and weaknesses of different vehicles during this type of a full frontal collision. The problem is that's not the only way dangerous wrecks occur. I've seen many examples of major life-endangering crashes with the damage to one side of the vehicle in a front end collision. I was a passenger in one, and my nose, teeth and cervical spine will never be the same.


Looking at the experiences I myself have had with these type accidents, how rare can they be? And when it involves you or a loved one, the numbers really don't matter. The addition of the institute's offset test, which delivers the impact to 40% of the front end at 40 mph, expands our knowledge even further by bringing out dangerous weaknesses that the NHTSA full frontal tests do not. Common sense tells us that the more diverse and detailed the safety testing of vehicles becomes, the more drive the manufacturers will have in engineering stronger cars that save lives.


Buckle-up, and drive safely. That's the best place to start.


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