IIHS

IIHS / Insurance Institute for Highway Safety

A new analysis by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety finds that a disproportionate number of teenagers who died in car accidents were driving older, smaller cars.

Small, older model cars tend to be lightweight and lack electronic stability control and side air bags. 

Yet these are the cars parents typically buy for their teens, who are the least experienced drivers on the road. 

Russ Rader of IIHS says cost shouldn't be the only factor when choosing a car for a young driver.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reports "not stellar" results for the latest group of vehicles to undergo a new "small overlap frontal crash" test.

The test sees how well a vehicle protects an occupant in a situation where just a part of the front of the car hits something. One example would be two vehicles approaching each other, and one strays a little bit over the center line, causing an offset accident.

City of Detroit

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety will probably be handing out a lot fewer of its coveted "Top Safety Pick" awards in 2014.

Not because cars will suddenly be less safe - but because of a new test the agency is requiring.  

The Insurance Institute will soon add a test for a so-called "small overlap" crash.

A new study suggests that most new technologies to reduce car crashes are effective.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety found claims went down seven percent for vehicles that sound a warning to alert drivers of an imminent crash.

There was a fourteen-percent reduction in claims for cars that automatically apply the brakes to avoid a collision.

The Institute's David Zuby  says that's a significant reduction.

Photo courtesy of the Vogue Theatre

A record number of cars got a “Top Safety Pick” award from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety for 2012.  That’s just two years after the safety group made it a lot tougher to get the award. 

In 2010, the Institute added a rollover crash test to its criteria for “Top Safety Pick” awards.  Only 26 cars got the award that year.  This year, most car companies had strengthened the roofs of their cars – and 115 vehicles got the award. 

But safety is a moving target, and it could once again get harder to win the coveted award.

Spokesman Russ Rader said the group is considering adding two new criteria. One is forward collision warning, with automatic braking.  Another is making side panels harder to sheer off when one car sideswipes another.

"If they prove to be effective, we will add those to the top safety pick criteria," Rader said.

Rader admits new safety features cost money, but he said car companies managed to add electronic stability control to all their cars without greatly increasing the price of their products. 

He said car companies tend to introduce new safety features to higher-end luxury cars first - and once the technology becomes "off the shelf," they add it to lower-priced vehicles.