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The IIHS Announces 2017 Top Safety Picks

2017 top safety picks carsThinking of buying a new car? The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety announced last week their 2017 Top Safety Picks.

Out of 200 models evaluated by the IIHS, 82 vehicles made the cut.

There are two awards categories: Top Safety Pick, and Top Safety Pick Plus. To qualify for either of these lists, vehicles must earn good ratings in a series of crashworthiness tests and advanced or superior ratings for crash prevention. In all, 44 earned Top Safety Pick status, and 38 Top Safety Pick Plus.

2017 Top Safety Pick Criteria

For the 3rd year in a row, automatic braking factored significantly into vehicle safety ratings. Automakers have voluntarily pledged to make automatic braking standard in all new vehicles by 2022. The feature has already become more common in new models. And that’s a good thing — automatic braking systems have been found to reduce rear-end crashes by 50%. This year, 21 of the 2017 winners feature automatic braking capability.

This year, the IIHS again raised the bar for safety criteria. For the first time, headlight system quality factored into the 2017 top safety pick ratings. While much of attention in recent years has centered on advanced crash-prevention technology, the IIHS renewed focus on one of the most basic safety systems found on all automobiles: headlights.

Why Headlights Stole the Spotlight

Vehicles must have good or acceptable headlights to make this year’s lists. Surprisingly, only 7 of the 82 top vehicles earned a “good” headlight rating. The IIHS began looking more closely at headlight quality this spring, after learning that government standards allow for huge variation in a number of illumination headlights provide. This is a problem, as nighttime visibility can be a matter of life and death on the road.

Furthermore, it turns out that expensive, modern headlights don’t necessarily perform better. LED, high-intensity discharge, and curve-adapting light systems were not indicators of superior illumination.

Some automakers adapted their 2017 models to fare better in this category, however. The 2017 Subaru Forester and the Toyota Prius headlight systems both earn an acceptable rating, up from “poor” in the 2016 versions.

Safety ratings like the lists provided by the IIHS put pressure on automakers to up their game when it comes to safety. As car accident lawyers, we feel that this is a very good thing. If you have been hurt in a car accident or harmed due to a defective vehicle under recall, contact Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys for a free evaluation of your case.

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