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IIHS Adds New Frontal Crash Test, Most Cars Expected to Perform Poorly

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The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety is adding a new frontal offset crash evaluation called the “small overlap test,” and today revealed that the first batch of cars to undergo the test performed, well, poorly. Similar to the current frontal offset test, the small overlap test involves ramming a car into a stationary barrier positioned off of the car’s centerline at 40 mph. However, whereas the frontal offset test—which is getting a name change to “moderate overlap”—sees 40 percent of a car’s front end meeting a deformable barrier, the small overlap reduces the impact zone to just the outer 25 percent of a car’s frontal area on the driver’s side. Oh, and the barrier is rigid—meaning it doesn’t deform when the car hits it. A 2009 IIHS study revealed that among cars with good ratings for frontal crash protection, small overlap collisions make up almost 25 percent of crashes resulting in serious or fatal injuries to front-seat occupants. Of the 11 new luxury cars crashed in small overlap fashion, only three earned a “good” or “acceptable” rating.

More here: http://blog.caranddriver.com/iihs-adds-new-frontal-crash-test-most-cars-expected-to-perform-poorly/

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It looks to me like the IIHS has been looking at these crashes posted on the internet, where new (so called "safe") cars are hitting rigid objects just outboard of the subframe, and are shearing off the suspension, fender, wheel, and doors.

For a change, I applaud the IIHS for reacting to the need for this type of crash protection, as it really seems like the automakers are tuning safety to do well at crash tests and not real world crashes.

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