Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety is a U.S. non-profit organization funded by auto insurers. It is works to reduce the number of motor vehicle crashes, and the rate of injuries in the crashes that still occur. It carries out basic research and produces ratings for each model of vehicle.
The Institute's crash testing differs from that of the NHTSA New Car Assessment Program (govermental) in that its tests are 40% offset. This test exposes 40% of the front of the vehicle to a deformable barrier at approximately 40MpH. Because only 40% of the vehicle's front must stand the impact, it shows the structural strength much better than the US government's NHTSA New Car Assessment Program testing does. Many real-life frontal impacts are offset.
The IIHS uses four ratings for each catagory, Good (best, green G), Acceptable (yellow A), Marginal (orange M) and Poor (worst, red P). Vehicles which score all Goods or do better than most others in its class are given Best Pick designations.
As with NHTSA's New Car Assment Program testings, vehicles across different catagories may not be directly compared, as increased weight almost always benifits if the other vehicle is of a lesser mass.
Relatively new to the IIHS is the side impact tests. Unlike NHTSA New Car Assment Program test's low barrier, the IIHS uses an elevated barrier to simulate the impact of an SUV (approximately half of all new cars sold) into the side of the vehicle being tested. This is a "very demanding" test of both the structural integrity of the vehicle, as well as the restraints. While most new vehicles achieve 4 and 5 stars from the NHTSA, many do not score well in the IIHS side impact test. Side impact airbags greatly help vehicles score higher in the test. The IIHS side impact test more accurately reflects a real side impact involving an SUV as the vehicle that impacts into the side of another.
When purchasing a new vehicle, it is necessary to pay attention to both the IIHS and NHTSA test. For example, a Chevorlet Venture (also marketed as Oldsmobile Silhouette, Pontiac Montana/TransSport) achieves a respectable rating of 4/5 stars from NHTSA, but is rated Poor by the IIHS for its poor structural integrity which becomes appearant in the offset crash test.
NHTSA test of Chevy Venture: []
IIHS test of Chevy Venture: []
The difference of results between the same model tested by the NHTSA and IIHS are great and must be considered when deciding the safety of a vehicle.
--YueIBM 04:11, 6 Apr 2005 (UTC)
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