IIHS Introduces New Small Overlap Crash Testing
August 16, 2012

by Katie O'Mara, komara@glass.com

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has developed a new form of crash testing that would help consumer determine the safest vehicle to purchase. In the past IIHS has used frontal crash testing to determine the safest vehicle in an accident. However, after noting the inability for frontal crash testing to accurately depict the safety of the vehicle in all crash situations, the IIHS has introduced overlap crash testing.

In the small overlap front test the IIHS measures what happens when the front corner of a car collides with another vehicle or object.

"Twenty-five percent of the vehicle's front end strikes a five foot tall rigid barrier at 40 mph," says IIHS in a status report on the testing. "To provide effective protection in small overlap crashes, the safety cage needs to resist crash forces that aren't tempered by crush-zone structures."

The report tells the story of Hollyn Mangione who was injured in a small overlap front crash.

"The driver's space was compromised by intruding structure. The A-pillar, hinge pillar and forward portion of the window frame were driver rearward and inboard as the wheel and tire were forced rearward," reads the report.

IIHS' status report stresses the importance of the airbag and movement of the surrounding structure during an overlap front crash.
"Safety belts and airbags are important in any crash configuration, and they are especially taxed in small overlap frontal crashes," reads the report. "When cars strike the test barrier they tend to move sideways away from it, and the interior structures including the driver door, side window and A-pillar move in the same direction. The test dummy, however, keeps moving forward into the path of the sideways-moving interior structures."

Among the 2012 vehicles tested, three out of eleven midsize luxury and near-luxury vehicles earned good or acceptable ratings. The Acura TL and Volvo S60 earned good ratings. The Infinity G was rated as acceptable and the Acura TSX, BMW 3 series, Lincoln MKZ and Volkswagen CC earned marginal ratings. Some of the vehicles that received poor ratings were The Mercedes-Benz C-Class, Lexus IS 250/350, Audi A4 and the Lexus ES 350.

The new overlap crash testing was featured on NBC's Rock Center with Brian Williams last night.

This story is an original story by AGRR™ magazine/glassBYTEs.com™. Subscribe to AGRR™ Magazine.
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