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Look behind the curtain at the place IIHS does crash testing

The best safety evaluations for American vehicles are not done by your government, but by this group. Here’s where they do it, how they do it, and why.

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Whenever you see an automaker create an advertisement that touts its "Five-star NHTSA crash test results" look deeper. It probably means that the vehicle being advertised did poorly on one or more of the evaluations done by another important group, IIHS. NHTSA has a hugely important role in vehicle safety, but that government organization is not doing the most stringent automotive safety evaluations, nor is it the current driver behind new safety technology you find in your car. That work is being done by The Insurance Institute For Highway Safety (IIHS) and its data analysis partner The Highway Loss Data Institute (HDLI).

In September, IIHS opened its expanded facility in Ruckersville, VA. The new facility boasts one of the world’s largest fabric-covered structures which covers a five-acre test track. IIHS is conducting testing and evaluation of accident avoidance systems. You see, crashes are so two-thousand and late. The new benchmark for safety is no longer a good score on multiple impact tests, but how well a vehicle can avoid those crashes to begin with. Good crash test results are now taken for granted in every major automotive category.

IIHS President Adrian Lund commented on the trend, saying, "Now we're entering an exciting new phase focused on technology that can prevent crashes from occurring in the first place. With the expanded facility, IIHS can more quickly evaluate new features that promise to move us closer to the goal of zero crash deaths and injuries." The new facility will also enable testing and evaluation of active headlight systems (those that swing to illuminate the corner when you turn) and pedestrian impact prevention technology. Check out the video for more information. The new facility information starts at about time stamp 2:00

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