How Effective Is Auto Crash Testing?

January 6th, 2015 by

buying a hybridMost everyone has heard about auto crash testing. You may have even seen commercials showing clips of some of the tests on television demonstrating how safe certain vehicles are to help increase sales. Crash tests were designed as a way to help determine the safety ratings for vehicles but how well do they work? Do they really help to determine how safe certain types of vehicles are when involved in an accident?

While crash testing cannot imitate every type of scenario in which accidents occur, they have proven to be very useful. They can provide auto buyers with peace of mind knowing that they are as safe as possible when on the road.

Who Conducts Auto Crash Testing?

The NHTSA or National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the IIHS or Insurance Institute of Highway Safety are the two main groups that conduct safety crash tests in the United States. The NHTSA is a federal agency and the IIHS is a nonprofit group funded by insurance companies.

These tests include side crashes and front impacts because these are the most common types of accidents. Other types of tests determine roof strength, how likely it is that the vehicle will tip or roll over during impact and how well head restraints protect against whiplash.

Test Dummies Play an Important Role in Crash Testing

The crash test dummy is a vital part of crash testing. Without them, it would be impossible to determine how serious someone would be hurt during a crash. They simulate people and provide a safe way to gather data without putting anyone at risk. The injuries sustained will be different for individuals of different height, weight and statue, so the dummies come in different sizes from the adult male to small babies.

Test dummies have load sensors and accelerometers attached to various parts of the body. The load sensors determine how much force the different parts of the body endure and the accelerometers measure directional acceleration during the crash. The movement sensors are located in the chest and they show how far the chest deflects during an accident. All of the data collected from these instruments help to determine the severity of the injuries.

Rating the Vehicle

After the tests, experts study the collected data to determine how well the vehicle protected the occupants during the crash. They will then use the results to rate each of the vehicles tested. For example, the IIHS rates the 2015 Toyota Camry “Good” in all areas, which makes it a great option for car buyers. You can also compare ratings on different makes and models to determine which new or used vehicle to purchase.

A lot of time and planning goes into conducting crash tests and they do help to make driving safer. Many of the safety features found on new vehicles are the result these tests. They provide the data needed for automakers to use modern technology to enhance the safety equipment already found in vehicles. It also inspires them to make their vehicles safer because it’s something that many consumers look at before buying a new car.

Auto crash testing provides vital information on what happens to people during a crash and there is no other way to obtain this information. Knowing the crash-test rating for a vehicle will help you choose a make and model that makes you feel safer when on the road.


Posted in Toyota