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IIHS Toughens Up Their Safety Ratings For 2018 - What Changed?

The Insurance Institute For Highway Safety (IIHS) just made the Top Safety Pick Plus rating harder to earn. Here's how.

The Insurance Institute For Highway Safety (IIHS) has just announced changes to its rating system used to rank the safety of cars, crossovers, and trucks. For 2018 the group makes it even harder for automakers to earn the coveted Top Safety Pick Plus rating.

Vehicles must already earn a score of Good on all crash tests, including the difficult small frontal offset crash test added about five years ago. They also must have active safety systems that will automatically stop the car that scores Advanced or Superior.

Going forward IIHS makes two big changes. The first is to the small frontal overlap test. For 2018 the test will be performed on the passenger's side of the vehicle rather than on the driver's side. In addition, there will now be two crash test dummies in the vehicle and both will have sensors, though most will be on the passenger side dummy. A score of Good or Acceptable is required. IIHS added this test after it was discovered that some vehicles, such as the Toyota RAV4, scored Good on the driver's side, but Poor on the Passenger side when tested. In a recent test of 13 midsized cars, ten scored Good, but three failed to make the grade.

The second change will a tough one for automakers. For 2018, the headlights on a vehicle must include one that scores Good. In the past, a score of Acceptable would enable a Top Safety Pick Plus score.