The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has been testing side-impact crashes since 2003. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has been collecting traffic fatality information a lot longer than that. Yet it took until 2011 for IIHS to compare its considerable crash data against NHTSA's crash mortality data.

As a result, IIHS can now underscore the importance of its crash test scores with credible outside data. Bloomberg reports that the Institute found that drivers of vehicles with an IIHS rating of "Good" for side-impact crashes were 70 percent less likely to die in an accident. That's the exact type of statistic that can sway shoppers' purchasing decisions. Further bolstering IIHS's findings is this nugget: 27 percent of all fatal accidents involved a side-impact collision. For 2011, the Hyundai Accent, two-door Jeep Wrangler and Chevy Colorado all receive "Poor" side impact ratings.

Meanwhile, NHTSA will further regulate vehicle standards beginning in 2018 to include more protection against side impacts as well as occupant ejection in the event of a rollover. Stronger side glass and side-impact airbags are among the available solutions.

[Source: Bloomberg]

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