The number of cars to get top safety ratings from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has increased for the second year in a row, according to the Institute’s list of “Top Safety Picks,” announced on Thursday. CNN Money writes that the Institute is now looking at m
aking the awards even tougher, according to IIHS spokesman Russ Rader.
CNN Money reports: “Among the changes being considered are an additional crash test or factoring in safety technology such as blind spot warning systems or crash avoidance systems.”
“It’s tough to win, and we commend auto manufacturers for making safety a top priority,” said Institute president Adrian Lund. The IIHS is a nonprofit group financed by the insurance industry, and its ratings, which began in 2005, are based on tests different from those of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
CNN Money notes that certain cars might get poorer scores in NHTSA auto safety tests despite winning the Insurance Institute’s award. For example, the Fiat 500 is an IIHS award winner despite earning only three out of five stars in NHTSA’s crash tests. A spokesman for Fiat told CNN Money that Fiat is looking into ways to improve its score in the NHTSA tests.
Every major automaker has a least one car model winning an award, with Subaru being the only one to get an award for every model in its 2012 season, including one for the redesigned Impreza, a small car. Toyota/Lexus/Scion has 15 winners for 2012, more than any other manufacturer. General Motors has 14, Volkswagen/Audi has 13, and Honda/Acura has 12.
Car buyers should take note that the IIHS groups winners according to vehicle type and size, and that size and weight are factors in how able a vehicle is to withstand a crash. As IIHS reports:
“Larger, heavier vehicles generally afford better occupant protection in serious crashes than smaller, lighter ones. Even with a Top Safety Pick, a small car isn’t as crashworthy as a bigger one.”
You can see the complete listing all of the IIHS winners here.