IIHS: Here's Why We Don't Crash Test at More Than 40 MPH

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety occasionally updates its testing methods to keep pace with a rapidly evolving automotive industry, but there’s one thing that hasn’t changed with the new tests: Crash speeds. In a recent YouTube video, the IIHS detailed why it hasn’t increased crash-test speeds above 40 mph despite the fact that most highway drivers routinely hit much higher speeds.

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California Lawmaker Wants to Limit Vehicle Speeds to 10 MPH Above the Limit

Every new car has a limited top speed programmed in at the factory, but for most, it’s usually deep into triple-digit numbers that most people never see. A proposed bill in California could drastically change the way automakers limit vehicle speeds, as one state senator wants to keep vehicles traveling within 10 mph of the speed limit.

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NHTSA: Don't Bedazzle Your Steering Wheel

It turns out that bejeweling your car's interior isn’t just in bad taste – it can hurt you in a crash. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recently released a consumer alert, warning people about “aftermarket steering wheel decals that could potentially cause significant injury or death.”

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Stellantis to Implement Hazard Alerts to Improve Vehicle Safety

The world is becoming friendlier for people with disabilities, but companies are constantly looking for ways to make their products more accessible for everyone. Stellantis recently issued a software update that makes its vehicles alert passengers to nearby emergency vehicles, making driving safer for hearing-impaired vehicle owners. 

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Hyundai Design Chief Promises Buttons Will Always Have a Place

There’s a growing divide in the automotive community over whether buttons or screens are the better approach to interior design. Automakers seem hellbent on replacing every physical control with a less tactile touch-sensitive button, but at least one has put a stake in the ground for buttons. Hyundai’s head of design recently told journalists that the automaker would continue to use physical buttons for some controls, noting that it’s essential that the driver be able to feel controls for safety and other vital vehicle settings.

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These Vehicles Just Lost Their Top Safety Pick Rating

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has updated its crash testing processes and hardware in recent years to account for new safety technologies, as well as the fact that people can walk in and buy new EVs that can weigh as much as two or three comparable gas vehicles combined. The most significant update for 2023 relates to the IIHS’ side crash test, but there are several other changes that have drastically reduced the number of vehicles that qualify for a Top Safety Pick award. 

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IIHS Evaluating Crash Test Equipment to Tackle Heavy EVs

With automobiles becoming heavier every year, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has announced that it’ll be updating its crash-testing rigs to handle more weight. Up until now, the heaviest model to see an IIHS sled has been the roughly 6,000-pound Audi e-tron. While all vehicles have been packing on mass lately, EVs tend to be substantially heavier than their combustion-reliant counterparts due to the battery. For example, the new GMC Hummer is so insanely heavy that there are roads that its 9,600-pound frame simply cannot handle. All that mass likewise means the IIHS is going to have a hell of a time doing any crash testing if its equipment isn’t ready.

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Kinda Sorta: Sweden Develops 'First' Female Crash Test Dummy

A team of engineers from Sweden has allegedly developed the first female crash test dummy. But what actually goes into making a human analog for crash testing and why haven’t there been more feminine versions of dummies that have technically existed for over 70 years?

Maybe we should start with a brief history lesson.

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Consumer Reports Worried Tesla Could Spy on Customers

Consumer Reports has taken umbrage with Tesla’s new cabin camera designed to monitor the driver by suggesting there might be some privacy concerns. While that sounds like the understatement of the year, we’ve seen other companies (e.g. Cadillac) deploy similar devices with little pushback. Uncoverable lenses on our laptops and phones are creepy enough. When the auto industry starts affixing driver-monitoring cameras to the dashboards of automobiles, you have to sit back and ask yourself how much longer you’re willing to be a party to the prologue for George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four.

Trapped like a dog inside the hot car of progress, we’ve been attempting to honk the horn until someone pays attention. Mercifully, Consumer Reports doesn’t seem to have forgotten its roots in consumer advocacy and is walking up to our window with a rock. It’s demanding more privacy protection for vehicle operators, and not just from a single automaker.

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Honda Recalls 1.4 Million Vehicles in Multiple Campaigns

On Tuesday, Honda announced a bevy of recalls encompassing more than 1.4 million automobiles sold in the United States. Split between several campaigns, the recalls encompass everything from dissolving driveshafts to bum window controls that could potentially result in a vehicle fire.

According to reports issued via the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the first and most-pressing issue involves the 2002-2006 Honda CR-V. Crossovers introduced to moisture could see their power window switches failing. If sufficient moisture is applied to the wires, Honda stated that there is some risk of a “thermal event.” As of November, the automaker said it was aware of 87 such instances and 23 reported events of fire.

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Rearview Mirrors Might Evolve in a Few Years

Rearview mirrors haven’t enjoyed the same renaissance as other portions of the automobile. When the mirrors began appearing on cars roughly a century ago, wheels had wooden or wire spokes and were wrapped in organically sourced bias-ply rubber. Despite still being round, modern wheels are vastly different from their more-venerable counterparts but mirrors are not.

That might change in a few years. While some automakers have already affixed parking camera displays into the polished reflective centerpiece, like Ford, two manufactures have recently replaced traditional mirrors will full-time video feed. Nissan has one available for the Japanese market and General Motors introduced the Gentex “Full Display Mirror™” on the Cadillac CT6 and XT5 at 2016’s Consumer Electronics trade show.

While our gut-reaction is to contemplate how much more expensive a free-hanging LCD screen would be to replace than a simple mirror, this could be the general direction for a tech-focused industry. In fact, IHS Markit is already positive it’s only a matter of time.

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New U.S. Bill Would Update Automotive Rules, Allowing for Non-human Drivers

When the automobile came into its own, there wasn’t really a place for it. Roads had been reserved for foot traffic and horses for hundreds of years before the invention of the internal combustion engines. Pedestrian injuries were high until they were partitioned onto the sidewalk. Likewise, it was some time before the millions of horses were be rounded up, placed into a giant pit, and shot to death by 20th-century motorists.

However, the industry didn’t really take safety into account until Ralph Nader wrote Unsafe at Any Speed and holding automakers accountable for safety suddenly became fashionable — helping America pass the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act in 1966 and subsequent legislation. Granted, vehicular fatality rates still fell dramatically between 1925 and 1965, but the regulatory influence didn’t skyrocket until after Nader’s analysis of the industry.

With autonomous vehicles positioned to change the way we “drive,” the long-established and ever-growing rulebook may need revisions. In July, a collective of automakers, suppliers, engineers, and consumer groups, calling themselves the Coalition for Future Mobility issued a statement urging Congress to consider legislation it deemed “critical to the United States continuing to be a place of innovation and development for the life-saving technologies.” Fast forward to August, and there is already a bill on the table.

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These Vehicles Offer the Highest Rates of Driver Death

After a notable decline in driver fatalities during the Great Recession, deaths are back on the rise. However, the increase is rather minuscule compared to every other decade since automobiles became North America’s preferred mode of transportation and the number is projected to go back down in the years to come.

The averaged rate of driver deaths for 2014 models was 30 fatalities per million registered vehicle years, up from the 2011 low of 28. Fatal crashes rose a further 7 percent in 2015. This is can primarily be attributed to people having more reasons to drive when the economy is better, and those added miles translate into additional opportunities for crashes.

More interestingly, however, is which vehicles drivers are losing their lives in most often. As expected, smaller vehicles often are the most dangerous to occupy in the event of an accident but the stats between individual models vary widely.

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Consumer Reports Restores Half of Tesla's Missing Points After Braking Update

Tesla Motors has won back some of Consumer Reports’ respect after being criticised for failing to include automatic emergency braking in recently built vehicles. The absence of the safety system really irked CR, resulting in a points deduction on all of the brand’s existing models. Tesla said it was abnormal to see vehicles of the same generation missing preexisting safety features and docked the Model S and X two points apiece.

“When we purchased our latest test car, we were assured automatic emergency braking would be enabled by the end of 2016,” explained Jake Fisher, director of Consumer Reports’ Auto Test Center. “We’ve been waiting for this important safety feature, which is standard equipment on much cheaper cars.”

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IIHS Pressing for Countermeasures Against Horrific Underride Scenarios

In National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, Clark W. Griswold road rages his Ford Taurus station wagon under a logging truck to comedic effect. However, without the benefit of movie magic, the following sequence of that film should have been a joint funeral for the entire family. Crash tests conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety prove that underride accidents are as devastating as they look, and the IIHS is demanding the implementation of every safety solution available.

While tractor-trailers are legally obligated to affix underride guards to the rear of their vehicles, the same can’t be said for their flanks. Unsurprisingly, there are more passenger fatalities stemming from incidents where a vehicle strikes the side of tractor-trailer than those where it impacts the rear. Since rear underride guards have proven successful in the lab and on the highways, isn’t it time we utilized similar countermeasures for a truck’s haunches?

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  • Dr Mindbender I like the look of the new little hot hatch GV they showed in Orange...it will be interesting to see if they start making larger hybrid drivetrains on their own or find a partner. I looked at Teslas in 2018...EVs don't meet my needs until solid state and prolific recharge in the open desert of SW USA is a reality. Even Porsche expanded their hybrid tech to the flagship, and Kia is all about aping Porsche, perhaps we'll see a T-hybrid in the Genesis lineup???? I always wondered when using a battery to pre-spin a turbocharger would actually work. In general tho, I find the Genesis design language to be quite awful, but I also think the Cayenne is a thing of magnificent beauty...so that balances out I guess. The focus on luxury over performance is where I think they go wrong...but again, Porsche...so I guess my lenses are quite tinted.
  • Slavuta So, Trump was hyperbolic... big deal.
  • Slavuta The question was, "does it make sense for Elon...?" I don't know why people jumped into conclusions in this comment section. My answer is this - if he does it, it makes sense to him. He knows better than any of us here. May be with his donations he can become an ambassador to an important state or secretary of energy, or chief of NASA. This is how America works. Donate $1m - ambassador to Poland, $3m - japan, $5M - Germany, etc. $20,000 could buy you Kenya or something
  • CanadaCraig We should be able to give comments a 'dislike' or 'thumbs down'. We're not 6 years old. I'm sure we cope if someone doesn't 'like' our comment.
  • Dartdude He knows that a Trump economy is a great opportunity to sell more cars (EV,ICE). Compare both terms and Trumps is the winner by a long shot.