Posts Tagged ‘Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’
More than 30,000 people a year still die on American roads, and while that toll has been steadily declining for a decade, it still represents a massive, unending tragedy. Around the world, those figures are climbing, as more people spend more time behind the wheel. Nothing drives advocates of tech such as driverless cars like the potential for sharply reducing the cost in human lives of driving.
Last week came a piece of good news in that fight: We are closer than we thought to cars that could prevent all their drivers from dying in a wreck. The bad news? There’s still decades of work ahead.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the research arm of the nation’s auto insurance companies, studied driver deaths between 2009 and 2012 for mass-market vehicles. (It did not examine passenger deaths due to unreliable data.) Overall, it found that new models with newer technology, especially stability control, had cut the overall death rate in vehicles by a third in the three years since it had last run the numbers. Had vehicle tech been frozen at 1985 levels, the IIHS estimates by 2012 an additional 7,700 people would have died in crashes.
|Vehicle||Deaths per million registered vehicle years||Multi-vehicle crashes||Single-vehicle crashes||Rollovers|
|Audi A4 4WD||0||0||0||0|
|Kia Sorento 2WD||0||0||0||0|
|Lexus RX 350 4WD||0||0||0||0|
|Mercedes-Benz GL-Class 4WD||0||0||0||0|
|Subaru Legacy 4WD||0||0||0||0|
|Toyota Highlander hybrid 4WD||0||0||0||0|
|Toyota Sequoia 4WD||0||0||0||0|
|Volvo XC90 4WD||0||0||0||0|
|Honda Pilot 4WD||2||0||2||0|
|Mercedes-Benz M-Class 4WD||3||3||0||0|
|Ford Crown Victoria||4||4||0||0|
|GMC Yukon 4WD||4||0||4||0|
|Acura TL 2WD||5||5||0||0|
|Chevrolet Equinox 2WD||5||3||2||0|
|Chevrolet Equinox 4WD||5||5||0||0|
|Ford Expedition 4WD||5||5||0||0|
|Ford Flex 2WD||5||0||5||0|
|Mazda CX-9 4WD||5||0||5||5|
The IIHS calculates its death rate per years registered of a particular model; the industry average is 28 deaths per one million registered years for 2011 models in 2012; in 2008, the rate was 48. When it dug deeper, the IIHS found nine 2011 models that had no recorded deaths of drivers — the first time the group had found any such vehicles. Six of them were SUVs; overall, SUVs had the lowest death rates of any vehicle type, mostly due to the mandate of electronic stability controls and the physics of larger vehicles offering more protection from the forces of a crash than smaller ones. (Compared to 2004 models, SUVs from the 2011 model-year on have a rollover rate that’s 75 percent less.)
But the IIHS also gave out a warning that the gap betwen the best and the worst cars at preventing fatal crashes had widened. The rates in the IIHS study are corrected for demographics (young drivers who typically buy smaller vehicles tend to crash more frequently) but even after that adjustment, small cars dominate the most lethal list:
|Vehicle||Deaths per million registered vehicle years||Multi-vehicle crashes||Single-vehicle crashes||Rollovers|
|Nissan Versa sedan||130||44||87||51|
|Chevrolet Camaro coupe||80||19||60||25|
|Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Crew 4WD||79||40||36||17|
|Nissan Versa hatchback||71||37||33||20|
|Chevrolet Suburban 1500 2WD||60||31||28||9|
|Mercury Grand Marquis||57||33||25||0|
|Jeep Patriot 2WD||57||44||9||3|
|Dodge Nitro 2WD||51||7||50||40|
“The complete elimination of traffic deaths is still many decades away, and, along with vehicle improvements, getting there will require changes in road design and public policy that can help protect all road users,” said David Zuby, IIHS executive vice president and chief research officer.”Still, the rise in the number of vehicles with zero driver deaths shows what’s possible.”
The newest vehicles have gone well beyond stability control to include tricks like automatic emergency braking and radar-based cruise control to slow down the vehicle automatically in traffic. The safety benefits of those technologies have not yet been fully measured, but their real benefit may not become visible until they’re available outside luxury models — especially the small cars that still pose the greatest risk.
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For the first time since 2003, the General Motors Co (GM). Cadillac Escalade isn’t the vehicle most targeted by car thieves, having lost out to a Ford pickup truck, according to the Highway Loss Data Institute.
Ford Motor Co. (F) (F)’s F-250 heavy-duty pickup took the top spot among most-stolen new vehicles in the U.S., according to the institute, which is part of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, an Arlington, Virginia-based nonprofit organization.
“General Motors has put a lot of effort into new antitheft technology, so that may help explain the decline in the Escalade’s theft rate,” Matt Moore, vice president of the Highway Loss Data Institute, said in an e-mailed statement. “On the other hand, sales of the Escalade have fallen in recent years, so there may be less of a market for stolen Escalades or Escalade parts.”
The group bases its theft rankings on the number of insured vehicles of each type on the road. Today’s report looks at vehicles from model years 2010 to 2012. The claim frequency for F-250 crew-cab pickups was seven per 1,000 insured vehicles and an average loss payment per claim of $7,060. The Escalade fell from first to sixth place with a claim frequency of 5 1/2 per 1,000 vehicles.
U.S. auto thefts appear to have risen in 2012 after eight straight years of declines, rising 1.3 percent from 715,373 in 2011, the National Insurance Crime Bureau said last month. The 2012 numbers were based on preliminary data, the bureau said.
GM added steering column locks and sensors that set off an alarm when the Escalade’s angle is changed to prevent the sport-utility vehicles from being stolen by being towed away on flatbed trucks, the institute said.
At least an 8.0 rating on The Car Connection‘s full reviews from three years ago–in this case, the 2011 model year At least four circles on J.D. Power‘s predicted-dependability rankings, or at least average reliability on Consumer ReportsAt least four stars overall from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) or a Top Safety Pick award from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).
In this list, we’ve examined the field of sport-utility vehicles–including crossovers–and come up with 18 of the best used SUVs on the road today, with the bottom line from our 2011 review:
With a few notable flaws in styling and features, the 2011 Acura MDX still impresses us with its friendly handling and gutsy power.
The 2011 Audi Q5 is one of the best upscale picks in a compact crossover, thanks to its sleek lines, practical interior, responsive feel, and city-savvy size.
The 2011 Cadillac Escalade delivers solid, luxurious, and spacious accommodations with an advanced feature set. If you can live with the thirst of non-Hybrid models, it’s unbeatable.
The 2011 SRX has the comfort and refinement luxury crossovers expect—plus a little Cadillac attitude.
If you don’t need a third row, the 2011 Chevrolet Equinox is just right for small families; it’s refined, secure, and versatile, and gets very impressive fuel economy in four-cylinder form.
2011 Chevrolet TraverseThe 2011 Chevrolet Traverse isn’t fun to drive, but it’s one of the best large crossover wagons for transporting the family comfortably and safely.
The 2011 Dodge Durango is the anti-crossover, especially with the HEMI and R/T trim, and if the world still sanctioned big SUVs for small families, the Durango would be elbowing its way to driveways everywhere.
Provided you don’t need a third-row seat, the 2011 Ford Edge is at last, at the leading edge of mid-size crossovers, with one of the best driver interfaces in the business.
The 2011 GMC Terrain looks bold and edgy on the outside, but it’s a softy inside, with a comfortable, refined cabin and excellent fuel economy.
Much better than its predecessor, the 2011 Hyundai Tucson needs a touch more power and steering feel to top carlike utes like the Nissan Rogue.
Kia hits game reset, and gives the 2011 Sportage an appealing new look and feel.
The swinging style sets an audacious mood—and the 2011 Lincoln MKT backs it up with turbo V-6 thrust.
You won’t need any excuses to say you’ve chosen the 2011 Lincoln MKX; it delivers on the promise of the brand: top-notch American luxury, with some of the best luxury and tech features wrapped in.
The 2011 Mazda CX-9 can carry seven in comfort, but it loves curves more than almost any other roomy crossover.
The 2011 Mercedes-Benz GLK-Class has the rugged look U.S. shoppers want, in a sensibly sized package. We only wish it were a little more fuel-efficient.
The roomy, versatile 2011 Subaru Forester handles better than just about any other small crossover, though the need for a more modern transmission and a little more cabin refinement keep it from greatness.
If off-road capability is a top requirement, the brawny 2011 Toyota 4Runner is a good choice—with surprisingly good road manners to boot.
The 2011 Volvo XC60 offers top in-car tech and luxury features, in a secure package that’s big enough for small families.
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“Small cars being produced today are far more exciting, fun to drive and fuel-efficient,” according to Rick Wainschel, VP of Automotive Insights at AutoTrader. In the past, Americans shunned small cars as being cheap and lacking in features, but not any more.
Here are some of the 2012 small cars sparking consumer interest:
Chevy Sonic – The Sonic is Chevy’s lowest priced car and is a sportier, better-looking replacement for the Aveo. Reviewers praised it as fun to drive and a worthy competitor to the Ford Fiesta and Honda Fit.
The Sonic is also a Top Safety Pick by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and has the distinction of being the only subcompact made in the USA under an agreement with the United Auto Workers. The base model starts at $13,735 and goes up to $18,495 for the top-end version.
Hyundai Veloster – The Veloster features two well-received attributes — eye-popping styling and high mileage. Reviewers loved its quirky exterior design and comfortable upscale-appearing interior. Although styled as a coupe, it has a third door on the passenger side for access to the back seat. The only seemingly downside is that test drivers feel that there’s too much emphasis on high MPG, and that takes away from a peppy, fun-to-drive experience.
The Veloster starts at $17,300.
Fiat 500 – Fiat, which now owns the majority of Chrysler, has brought in its popular 500 from Europe and is distributing it through some well-established Chrysler dealerships. Reviewers found it fun to look at and fun to drive — especially around curvy back roads. There is occasional bumpiness along with road noise with interstate driving, making the 500 a better choice for shorter-distance driving.
It’s a Top Safety Pick of Insurance Institute for Highway Driving, and starts at $15,500 for the “Pop”. Other models include the “Sport” starting at $17,500 and the “Lounge” starting at $19,500.
Volkswagen Beetle – The 2012 redesign gave the classic its first new look since 1998. With a flatter top and a longer hood, plus a wider, lower and longer body, the 2012 VW targets mal buyers. Previously, Beetle buyers were 60% women. In another bid for male buyers, the 2012 VW upped the horsepower with a four-cylinder turbocharged engine. Male reviewers praised the increased acceleration as well as the power and handling.
The new Beetle starts at $18,995 for the base model and goes up to $23,395 for the turbo version.