IIHS Moves the Bar Again: Manufacturers Respond by Making the Vehicles We Drive Safer Than Ever

Discussion in 'In the News' started by xcel, Nov 22, 2017.

  1. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    [​IMG] The new passenger side small overlap crash test is the latest and manufacturers have overwhelmingly responded exceeding expectations!

    Wayne Gerdes – CleanMPG – Nov. 22, 2017


    A barely massaged release from the IIHS last week introduces the public to yet another new crash test program measure that manufacturers are taking heed and improving safety of front passengers as well as drivers.

    The test was developed after it became clear that some manufacturers were not providing the same level of crash test protection to right side front passengers when it comes to small overlap front crash protection.

    "Vehicles with good driver-side protection may leave passengers at risk”

    The first group to be fully tested with the new passenger-side small overlap did better overall than vehicles IIHS previously evaluated for research. Ten out of 13 midsize cars tested earned a good rating, while one is acceptable and two earn a marginal rating.

    In contrast with a group of 2014-16 model small SUVs tested for research, none of the 2017-18 midsize cars had a poor or marginal structural rating. Instead, the biggest problem in the new group was inconsistent airbag protection in five cars, which could put passengers' heads at risk.

    IIHS Senior Research Engineer Becky Mueller:
    Automakers have made important changes to vehicle structures and restraints to earn good ratings in the viscous driver-side small overlap (SOL) crash test with the vehicle driven into a solid barrier at 40 mph with just 25 percent of the vehicle's front end overlapping the barrier on the driver side. It mimics what happens when the front driver-side corner of a vehicle collides with another vehicle or with an obstacle such as a tree or utility pole. The Institute introduced the small overlap test in 2012, and it has been part of the IIHS awards criteria since 2013.

    When the SOL test was first introduced, most vehicles tested earned poor or marginal ratings, which bypasses most of a vehicle's primary structure and is therefore more challenging than the head-on crash test conducted by the federal government or the moderate (40 percent) overlap test that the Institute has conducted since 1995. To improve performance, manufacturers strengthened the occupant compartment and in some cases extended the bumper and added engagement structures. Many also had to lengthen the side curtain airbags to provide better forward coverage. The changes have paid off: Among 2017 models, two-thirds earn a good rating.

    IIHS engineers initially focused on driver-side protection for a simple reason: Every vehicle on the road has a driver, future advances in self-driving cars notwithstanding, but not every vehicle has a passenger. It also was clear that what works for small overlap protection on the left side might not work on the right, since vehicles are to a certain extent asymmetrical.

    Once manufacturers solved the small overlap problem on the driver side, the Institute wanted to see them use that know-how on the passenger side as well.

    Mueller oversaw the development of a passenger-side test that is virtually identical to the driver-side one, except the vehicle overlaps the barrier on the right side. In addition, instead of just a driver dummy, a passenger dummy also is seated in front.

    In June 2016, IIHS published provisional results of passenger-side small overlap tests of small SUVs with good driver-side ratings. In that group, only the 2016 Hyundai Tucson would have earned a good passenger-side rating. Taking into account vehicle "twins," there were nine SUVs in total: two good (the Tucson and its twin, the Kia Sportage), four acceptable, two marginal and one poor.

    Mueller added:
    Among the midsize cars, all of which have good driver-side ratings, the Subaru Outback was the top performer for passenger side SOL. Its good passenger-side rating also applies to its twin, the Subaru Legacy. Their good ratings are notable, given that the 2014 Subaru Forester earned a marginal rating in the earlier tests. The Forester's rating carries forward through the 2018 model year. In the test of the Outback, the passenger's space was maintained well, with maximum intrusion of 4 inches at the right edge of the toepan. The safety belt and front and side curtain airbags worked together to keep the dummy in place, and measures taken from the dummy showed there would be a low risk of injury in a similar real-world crash.

    The Chevrolet Malibu and the Volkswagen Passat earn a marginal passenger-side rating. In both cars, the passenger dummy's head slid off the front airbag and contacted the dashboard. Measures taken from the dummy showed head injuries would be possible in a real-world crash of the same severity.

    In the passenger-side small overlap test of the Subaru Outback, the passenger dummy's head hit the front airbag and stayed there until rebound.

    In the Chevrolet Malibu's test, the passenger dummy's head went between the front and side curtain airbags and hit the dashboard.

    The Passat is one of five cars with an acceptable, instead of good, structural rating. It had maximum intrusion of 7 inches at the lower door-hinge pillar. In contrast, maximum intrusion in the Passat's driver-side small overlap test was 4 inches in a comparable location.

    The vehicle with the most structural damage was the Mazda 6. Intrusion reached 9 inches at the lower door-hinge pillar, compared with 5 inches in the driver-side test. The Mazda 6's airbags and belts worked well together, and the dummies showed no indication of likely injuries, so the car earns a good rating overall.

    [​IMG]

    For other vehicles that manufacturers think can achieve an acceptable or higher passenger-side small overlap rating, IIHS will accept automaker test data in lieu of conducting its own tests. If a model has a good driver-side small overlap rating, automakers may submit video footage and data from a passenger-side test conducted using the IIHS protocol, and Institute staff will evaluate the information and assign a rating. IIHS will conduct occasional audit tests.

    The Institute has used that process, known as test verification, to assign other types of ratings under certain circumstances. In the case of the passenger-side small overlap ratings, verification will allow more vehicles to vie for a 2018 TOP SAFETY PICK+ award than the Institute would have time to test on its own.

    I do have to wonder of the IIHS’ aggressive roll out of crash tests will eventually make eliminate the need for the Governments NHTSA Crash Test rating program?
     
    BillLin likes this.
  2. Erdrick

    Erdrick Well-Known Member

    I agree that it is starting to seem like NHTSA is being made redundant.
    Their tests are less comprehensive and less often updated than what IIHS looks at.
    I honestly don’t even reference the NHTSA results anymore.
     
    BillLin and xcel like this.
  3. Trollbait

    Trollbait Well-Known Member

    IIHS has the financial backing of the insurance industry.

    NHTSA is beholden to the whims of Washington and government budgeting. They are the best in the world when it comes plane crash investigating. But we can't get high tech head lights because that is beneath Congress' notice.
     
    xcel and BillLin like this.
  4. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Hi Trollbait:

    Yup. :(

    Wayne
     
    BillLin likes this.
  5. PaleMelanesian

    PaleMelanesian Beat the System Staff Member

    Seriously guys?! You didn't think it was reasonable to make the matching changes on the passenger side? More like it wasn't worth the $$$ when there wasn't a specific mandate for it. Come on! :mad:
     
    xcel, Trollbait and BillLin like this.
  6. BillLin

    BillLin MASS: 2018 Bolt EV and 2017 Prime

    I suppose there would be more justification for the symmetry if the vehicle was available in right-hand-drive countries...
     
    xcel likes this.
  7. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Hi All:

    As an update, the IIHS has recently tested 7 compact CUVs. The results were .... Some get it and some do not.


    In a new round of evaluations, 5 of 7 small SUVs earned good ratings from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) for occupant protection in a passenger-side small overlap front crashes.

    The ratings bring to 16 the number of small SUVs the Institute has evaluated in the passenger-side small overlap front test, which was introduced in 2017 to encourage manufacturers to offer the same level of protection for front-seat passengers as drivers in this type of crash.

    The BMW X1; Chevrolet Equinox and GMC Terrain; Jeep Compass and Mitsubishi Outlander earn good ratings in the passenger-side small overlap front test. The Mitsubishi Outlander Sport earns a marginal rating, and the Ford Escape earns poor. For the 2018 model year, the Equinox shed weight to join the small SUV size class. Earlier models were classified as midsize.

    A good or acceptable passenger-side rating is needed to qualify for the Institute's 2018 TOP SAFETY PICK+ award, as well as good-rated headlights. To earn TOP SAFETY PICK, vehicles must achieve good ratings in the driver-side small overlap front, moderate overlap front, side, roof strength and head restraint tests; earn an advanced or superior rating for front crash prevention; and also have at least acceptable-rated headlights. The Outlander is among the nine small SUVs that have qualified for a 2018 TOP SAFETY PICK award. So far no small SUV has earned the "plus" award, mainly because they fall short of a good rating for headlights.

    None of the newly rated 2018 models earns better than acceptable marks for structure. (The Honda CR-V and Mazda CX-5 are the only small SUVs evaluated so far to earn good ratings for structure in the passenger-side small overlap front test.) The Outlander Sport is marginal, and the Escape is rated poor. Both the Outlander Sport and Escape allowed too much intrusion into the occupant compartment on the right side.

    The Escape struggled in the test, as intruding structure seriously compromised space for the right-front passenger. Intrusion measured 10 inches at the upper door-hinge pillar, compared with 5 inches in the driver-side test. The passenger-side door sill was pushed 4 inches laterally into the occupant compartment. Measures taken from the dummy indicate that right hip injuries would be likely in a real-world crash of this severity.

    Starting with 2017 models, Ford reinforced the structure on the driver side of the Escape to improve occupant protection in a small overlap front crash but didn't make the same change to the passenger side. The Escape earns an acceptable rating in the driver-side small overlap front test.

    The X1's structure resisted intrusion reasonably well to maintain the passenger space. The safety belt and front and side curtain airbags worked together to keep the dummy in place, and measures taken from the dummy showed there would be a low risk of injury in a similar real-world crash.

    Side airbag issue

    The side curtain airbags in the Escape and Outlander Sport didn't deploy. This contributed to the Escape's marginal rating and the Outlander Sport's poor rating for restraints and kinematics.

    Without side airbag protection, the right front passenger would be vulnerable to contact with side structure and outside objects in a small overlap front crash. In the Escape, the dummy's head contacted the front airbag but then rolled around the right side. In the Outlander Sport, the dummy's head barely contacted the front airbag before sliding off the right side, allowing the head to move sufficiently far forward to hit the upper interior trim panel on the door.

    [​IMG]

    The passenger-side small overlap test is setup for a vehicle traveling at 40 mph toward a barrier with 25 percent of the vehicle's front end overlapping the barrier. The test mimics what happens when the front driver-side corner of a vehicle collides with another vehicle or with an obstacle such as a tree or utility pole.

    The passenger-side test is virtually identical to the driver-side one, except the vehicle overlaps the barrier on the right side. Instead of just a driver dummy, a passenger dummy also is seated in front.

    The Institute doesn't conduct passenger-side small overlap front tests on every vehicle it rates. Some vehicles — those with good driver-side ratings — qualify to be rated on the basis of the automaker's own test data. If they follow IIHS protocol, manufacturers can submit their data and video to IIHS engineers, who evaluate it to assign a rating. IIHS will conduct occasional audit tests.

    The Institute has used that process, known as test verification, to assign other types of ratings under certain circumstances. In the case of the passenger-side small overlap ratings, verification will allow more vehicles to vie for a TOP SAFETY PICK+ award than the Institute would have time to test on its own.
     
    BillLin likes this.

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