What do safety ratings mean

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What are safety ratings?

Safety ratings are scores assigned to different vehicles based on their performance on a series of safety tests. In particular, safety ratings provide consumers with information on crash avoidance and safety features of different vehicles. Several independent organizations across the world conduct vehicle testing and research to determine such ratings, as well as predict safety features and behaviours that can potentially help improve the driving experience.

What is IIHS?


The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety is a Virginia-based independent, nonprofit scientific and educational organization that conducts safety tests on different vehicles. Different car assessment programs check a variety of safety features by running distinct tests. However IIHS conducts extensive research and tests that go beyond the law requirements of safe vehicle design. In addition to vehicle design and features, IIHS also looks for ways to improve driver behavior and roadway design, in order to prevent crash injuries and promote safer driving.

How are safety ratings determined?

These ratings are determined by nonprofit or government organizations, which independently test the safety of the vehicles on the market.Vehicle safety tests are designed to simulate different dangerous on-road situations, and to assess vehicle response and performance, and occupants’ safety in each case.The score is determined based on the quality of performance in five tests: moderate overlap front, small overlap front, side, roof strength and head restraints. In addition, crash and/or injury avoidance technologies such as seatbelts, airbags, Electronic Stability Control (ESC), Lane Departure Warning (LDW), and Forward Collision Warning (FCW), are taken into account when assigning a score to the safety performance of a vehicle.

Why do safety ratings matter?

First and foremost, safety ratings help consumers make informed decisions, because they speak directly to the design, performance and safety features of different vehicles. In addition, safety ratings drive automakers to produce safer vehicles, since generally, highly ranked cars are more competitive in the market. Over the years, research on vehicle safety has also influenced law requirements and guidelines set for automakers. Overall safety ratings have made and continue to make driving and the vehicles we drive safer.

Norm Assiff

Norm Assiff

Norm was awarded the Alberta Civil Trial Lawyers Association (ACTLA) President's Award for 2012--awarded to a member of the Alberta bar who has distinguished himself or herself by his or her contribution to the profession or the community, the advancement of the law or their service to ACTLA. He has appeared at all levels of court in Alberta (Provincial Court, Queen's Bench and the Alberta Court of Appeal) as well as the Supreme Court of British Columbia and the Federal Court of Appeal.

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