Understanding Crash Safety Ratings in Mesa Arizona
Do you understand what crash safety ratings mean? Who determines these ratings? If your vehicle has been involved in an accident it’s crucial that you have it repaired at a Mesa certified auto body repair shop that uses only new factory parts and will restore your vehicle to its pre-accident condition. If you fail to use a factory certified auto body repair shop, subpar collision repair can negate safety features and crash avoidance technology.
Crash safety tests are performed by two separate organizations, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. The car safety ratings are determined by putting vehicles through crash situations and assessing the damage to the vehicle and the occupants. While both organizations and their sets of tests share a somewhat common goal, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety is more focused on even minor injuries and vehicle damage requiring collision repair. The focus of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is mainly on fatalities and serious injuries.
The NHTSA tests and then rates a vehicle’s performance in various types of collisions, including front-end collisions, side crash tests and rollovers. When performing a front end collision test, crash test dummies are seat belted into the vehicle and it is crashed into a barrier, which simulates a head on collision between vehicles of similar size and weight, each moving at about 35 miles an hour. Instruments are used to measure the impact to different parts of the body. The NHTSA assigns vehicles ratings ranging from 5, which is the highest score and indicates the least likelihood of injury down to 1, which implies about a 50% risk of injury.
In addition, the NHTSA performs similar tests to determine the risk of injury from a side impact crash and a roll over crash and assigns ratings from 5 being the safest to 1 being the least safe. The NHTSA does not perform rear impact crash tests since these are seldom responsible for fatalities.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) performs crash tests similar to those of the NHTSA, and also includes safety ratings for rear end collisions, as these are responsible for a large number of neck injuries and collision repair. The IIHS doesn’t use numbers to rate vehicle safety, but rather rates them as good, acceptable, marginal, or poor. Along with fatalities, their assessments take into account more minor injuries, the movement of the crash test dummies, how the vehicle responded, and its structural integrity. Both the NHTSA and the IIHS agree that they are not in competition with one another and feel that their crash tests complement one another’s findings. Contrary to popular belief, vehicles are not given to either organization, but are purchased from dealerships across the nation to ensure the integrity of the findings. Since every make and model of vehicle can’t be tested, crash test vehicles are chosen either because they are top sellers, or because they have changed design since the previous model.
Keep in mind that crash test scores cannot guarantee the outcome of an accident. It’s highly unlikely that you will be involved in an accident with a vehicle the exact same size and weight as yours, and going the exact same speed as yours. The NHTSA has seven classifications of vehicles, from mini cars on through SUVs and pickup trucks. That’s only one of the variables that can change the outcome of a crash test. In addition, vehicles may receive higher Arizona auto safety ratings if they contain crash avoidance and moderation technology that can help to prevent an accident or lessen its severity.
Although a vehicle’s appearance is the first thing to catch your eye, safety should be the most important factor in choosing a vehicle. Crash test scores can conceivably mean the difference between a minor injury and a serious one, or even a fatality. Vehicles earning high crash test ratings often receive lower insurance rates than those of similar vehicles that scored lower.
Since these tests have been implemented, vehicle designs have been improved, more safety features have been added, and fatality rates have declined.
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