Understanding Car Safety RatingsNovember 7, 2019
Safety ratings are one of the key selling points for new vehicles, but if you have ever wondered how certain vehicles earn their top safety ratings, or who is responsible for performing the safety tests, you are not alone. The two agencies responsible for evaluating vehicle safety are the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). A vehicle must go through a series of rigorous tests before it can be awarded with a Top Safety Pick (TSP) or Top Safety Pick+ (TSP+) award. Both agencies perform tests to determine which vehicles are the safest in a crash, but they each use different test designs. Understanding these ratings is crucial to choosing the best vehicle for your needs.
The NHTSA is a government agency that tests and enforces motor vehicle and highway safety regulations. It is also responsible for overseeing vehicle recalls, efficiency regulations, and running the New Car Assessment Program (NCAP). The agency uses multiple crash tests and one technical evaluation to assess a vehicle. Based on the results of the tests, the vehicle will be rated on a scale of one to five stars. The IIHS and the Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI) are nonprofit organizations that are funded by insurance organizations. Their mission is to reduce injuries, deaths, and property damage caused by car accidents. They do this by researching and reporting on a range of factors, including crashworthiness, crash avoidance, and roadway design.
Differences Between the Two Agencies
While the goal of both agencies is to determine which vehicles are the safest in a crash, they use different test designs to obtain that information. For example, when testing a vehicle for rollovers, an NHTSA test evaluates the vehicle’s ability to resist a rollover, whereas the IIHS test evaluates the vehicle’s roof strength in the event of a rollover. Automakers design their vehicles to meet the agencies’ testing criteria. In some cases, they adjust so that the vehicle performs better on certain tests.
Tests Involved in TSP and TSP+ Awards
To earn a TSP award, the vehicle must earn a Good rating in all the IIHS crash tests, except for the passenger-side small overlap front test. An Acceptable or Good score for this category is required. To earn a TSP+ award, the vehicle must receive a Good score in all categories, including passenger-side small overlap front test and headlight performance. IIHS uses the following tests to evaluate vehicles:
- Driver’s Side Small Overlap Front
- Passenger Side Small Overlap Front
- Moderate Overlap Front
- Side Impact
- Roof Strength
- Head Restraint Tests
- Front Crash Prevention Systems
- Headlight Rating
Baltimore Car Accident Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Secure Compensation for Car Accident Victims
If you or a loved one was seriously injured in a car accident involving a vehicle with a poor safety rating, contact the Baltimore car accident lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton as soon as possible. Our skilled and experienced legal team will conduct a thorough investigation to determine who is responsible for the accident. We will secure the maximum financial compensation for your injuries and ensure that your rights are always protected. To schedule a free consultation, call us today at 800-547-4LAW (4529) or contact us online.
Our offices are located in Baltimore, Columbia, Glen Burnie, and Towson, allowing us to represent car accident victims in Maryland, including those in Anne Arundel County, Baltimore County, Carroll County, Harford County, Howard County, Montgomery County, Maryland’s Western Counties, Prince George’s County, Queen Anne’s County, Southern Maryland, and the Eastern Shore, as well as the communities of Catonsville, Essex, Halethorpe, Middle River, Rosedale, Gwynn Oak, Brooklandville, Dundalk, Pikesville, Nottingham, Windsor Mill, Lutherville, Timonium, Sparrows Point, Ridgewood, and Elkridge.