Insurance Institute for Highway Safety Picks Safest Vehicles

27 vehicles make Top Safety Picks list

Jeep Patriot image from Flickr.

Jeep Patriot image from Flickr.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has come out with its annual list of Top Safety Picks. Eight SUVs and 19 cars have been given Top Safety Pick awards for 2010. People who want to make sure they’re getting the safest cars before filling out a personal loan application for a car loan should definitely check out this list.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety named six vehicles made by Ford, which makes Volvos, Top Safety Picks. Subaru and Volkswagen each had five vehicles named on the list. The Institute picked four Chrysler vehicles.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety

For 50 years, Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has operated for the purpose of reducing automobile accidents and injuries. The Institute is a non-profit organization that gets its funding from insurance companies. Each year, four tests are conducted to determine the Top Safety Picks:

  1. Frontal offset impact test
  2. Side impact test
  3. Rear crash protection and head restraint ratings
  4. Roof strength test

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety also rates child booster seats for cars and other consumer products. Of course, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has been accused in the past of serving the interests of the insurance companies rather than the public, which is why vehicle testing is highly regulated. It has also come under scrutiny for being unfairly hard on motorcycles, but who are we kidding? Motorcycles are not known for their safety features.

New safety requirements

The New York Times noted that there were some major changes in the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s list. For instance, last year 94 vehicles were named on the Top Safety Picks list, and this year there were only 27. Furthermore, Toyota and it subsidiaries last year earned a total of 11 Top Safety Picks awards, and this year the company, which includes the Lexus and Scion brands, got none at all.

In order to make the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s Top Safety Picks list this year, vehicles had to get a rating of “good” on the roof strength test, which measures rollover protection, was required in order to make the list. “Good” is the highest rating. This change caused Toyota vehicles to be shut out, the length of the list to be reduced dramatically and the Honda Accord to be left off the list after it made the 2008 and 2009 lists.

Auto industry impact

Naturally, safety ratings play a big part for many consumers when they are considering vehicle purchases. After a couple of tumultuous years in the auto industry, the stellar safety ratings for Ford should help the company stay afloat while we ride out the rest of the recession.

Chrysler should be particularly encouraged by its four wins after it had to file for bankruptcy protection this year. Sales of the four vehicles that made the list should help stabilize the company. Those four vehicles are:

  • Chrysler Sebring 4-door with electronic stability control
  • Dodge Avenger with electronic stability control
  • Dodge Journey
  • Jeep Patriot with side torso air bags

Check out the full list of vehicles that made the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s list in the New York Times’ Wheels column.

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