2014 has been a year of recalls – no doubt about – but the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) says that there is a lot to look forward to in 2015.
The General Motors infamous faulty ignition switch problem has now been linked to a total of 2,430 claims, including 260 deaths, 172 catastrophic injuries and 1,998 less serious injuries. There was also the Takata airbag disaster that has caused over two million vehicle recalls. These outstanding problems exist on top of the other safety recalls that have occurred throughout the year.
However, Adrian Lund, the president of the IIHS, believes that 2015 may actually be a very successful year as far as vehicle safety is concerned. The organization has awarded its top crashworthiness ratings to a total of 71 vehicles from the 2015 model year, almost doubling the previous total of 39.
There are two types of designations a vehicle can get – either Top Safety Pick or Top Safety Pick+, which is the more prestigious one. 11 of the selected 2015 vehicles have earned the “Plus” title.
In order to receive the above distinctions, automakers must undergo rigorous testing and not only meet but exceed expectations. These much sought-after classifications have encouraged automakers to improve in small overlap front crash tests and install automatic braking technology.
Previously, in order to get the “Plus” distinction, manufacturers only needed to offer some forward-collision-warning technology, but now they must also offer automatic braking to earn top grades. According to Lund, the systems that don’t require a response from a driver to avoid or mitigate a crash have the most potential to reduce a crash.
Some automakers, such as Toyota, are taking its vehicles through mid-cycle refreshes to improve the ratings. The Prius v initially received poor ratings, but after some structural revisions, it bounced back and aced the test.
New safety technologies are at the forefront of the revisions that many manufacturers are applying to their vehicles nowadays. Some of the most common and notable features include lane departure warning systems, adaptive cruise control with collision mitigation, blind-spot detection, adaptive headlights with night-vision assist, emergency brake assist and rearview cameras.
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