We recently learned of two separate accidents where persons were hit head on and miraculously survived. The main reason they did not suffer life-altering injuries is tied to the kind of car they were driving. This always brings to light the increasingly important role in car manufacturing and car safety ratings.
In 1970, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) was launched. Its mission was simple: save lives, prevent injuries and reduce vehicle-related crashes. Later in 1978, the NHTSA started using crash test dummies to help test and rate vehicles for frontal impact protection. In 1993, the NHTSA introduced its 5-star program, which rates cars from one (poor safety) to five (excellent safety) in an effort to educate consumers.
In the early 1990s, the insurance industry began creating the groundwork to test cars independently of the government and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) was created and funded by the nation’s insurance companies and associations. The Vehicle Research Center opened in 1992 to reduce deaths, injuries and property damages and began assessing cars three years later.
Between these two organizations, consumers can easily obtain car safety ratings on most new vehicles and many older models.
How does your car rank? Check out your make and model here.