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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the IIHS frontal crash test?

IIHS conducts three different frontal crash tests: a moderate overlap test (formerly known as the frontal offset test), a driver-side small overlap test and a passenger-side small overlap test. When we began our moderate overlap frontal tests, the majority of vehicles were rated poor or marginal. Today, all vehicles earn good ratings.

How do IIHS crash prevention ratings work?

For front crash prevention ratings, the Institute conducts low- and moderate-speed track tests of vehicles with automatic braking systems. IIHS also conducts evaluations of headlight systems and of the child seat attachment hardware known as LATCH. The descriptions below explain how each test is conducted and how the results translate into ratings.

Why did you update the IIHS side crash test?

Most of the side crashes in which people are killed in good-rated vehicles are more severe than the original IIHS side test. Our updated test is expected to help manufacturers identify ways to further enhance side protection. How do the Institute's side crash tests differ from NHTSA's side tests?

What is IIHS crashworthiness research?

Crash tests are central to crashworthiness research, and IIHS testing expanded with the opening of the Vehicle Research Center (VRC). Research about the physical environment includes, for example, assessment of roadway designs to reduce run-off-the-road crashes and eliminate roadside hazards.

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