Safer U.S. Vehicles in 2009
If you happen to be car shopping, you’ll want to visit the Top Safety Picks list from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. The list for 2009 has more domestic cars that ever before. 72 vehicles are on the list, double the number from last year.
“The sheer number of this year’s winners indicates that automakers have made huge strides to improve crash protection,” said Institute president Adrian Lund.
Ford and its Volvo subsidiary are now at the top of the annual list of safest vehicles. Together they won 16 awards. Ford, which had experienced years of unstable SUV Explorers that tended to roll, has now equipped them with electronic stability control (ESC) which makes the vehicles much more road worthy in sudden turns.
At Farah & Farah, we’ve seen too many accidents that result in a rollover and death from an unstable SUV. ESC is a much needed improvement.
When a driver is about to lose control of the vehicle, ESC senses it and automatically applies brakes to individual wheels. That way the vehicle is kept stable and avoids an SUV rollover accident. It also helps motorists avoid skidding across ice or when swerving to avoid hitting an unexpected object in the road or a tree.
While it used to be found only on high-end vehicles, ESC is now standard on about three-fourths of passenger cars for the 2009 model. Having ESC was mandatory for a car to qualify for the award.
Honda and its Acura subsidiary came in second with 13 mentions.
Chrysler was at the bottom of the list with not a single mention. The main problem plaguing Chrysler was its head restraints that could have been improved according to IIHS. Chrysler could have picked up five awards if head restraints were improved.
The awards help drive the direction of auto design and safety technology. The IIHS pressure is credited with making side head curtain airbags standard on even the most inexpensive models.
Many believe the IIHS has safety testing that is even more difficult than government testing standards which are supposed to protect people from front, side and rear crashes.
Take a look at the list from IIHS. As Florida auto product liability attorneys with the personal injury law firm Farah and Farah, we applaud automakers putting safety first. That should translate into lives saved.