By Jeff Gilbert

WASHINGTON — (WWJ) A new crash tests shows a possible hidden safety problems in vehicles. It involves frontal collisions, that only involve one corner of a vehicle.

VIDEO: WWJ’s Jeff Gilbert reports on the latest crash tests

“When we look at the real world data, we see this is a major source of serious and fatal injury,” said Adrian Lund, CEO of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

INTERVIEW: Adrian Lund, President/CEO of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety

The institute has begun doing a new series of tests, called small overlap frontal crash tests. It’s designed to replicate crashes that occur when a front corner of a car collides with another vehicle or a tree or utility pole.

LINK — Crash Test Press Release
LINK — Info on Small Overlap Frontal Crashes

“We have the safest vehicles that we’ve ever had on the roads today,” said Lund. “And yet, we still have as many as ten thousand deaths in frontal crashes each year. And, small overlap crashes account for twenty to twenty-five percent of those.”

The first series of crash tests involved midsize luxury cars. Only 3 of 11 vehicles tested earned good or acceptable ratings.

Lund says that’s because car companies build their vehicles to protect against head on impacts. He says more work is needed to make sure the cars and trucks also do well in other types of crashes.

“They need to make sure that the structure at thee outer edges of their vehicles, outside the middle half of their vehicles, is strong enough to begin to absorb some of the crash energy.”

Auto companies say they will take a look at the results, but have expressed concerns that they don’t adequately effect real world crashes. They are also concerned that any changes they would make could effect the weight and handling of vehicles.

Still, Lund says history shows that when vehicles don’t do well on a crash test, car companies respond.

“Each time we’ve added a new crash protection area, the automakers have stepped up. Now, most automakers perform well in all of those previous tests.”

Connect with Jeff Gilbert
Twitter: @jefferygilbert


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