When Montana residents are shopping for a new car, the safety rating each vehicle has received might be a major factor influencing their decision making. However, some residents might not be aware of who issues the safety rating and the criteria used.
Some safety ratings are issued by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, a non-profit organization funded by the auto insurance industry. The IIHS evaluates cars, SUVs and trucks to determine their crash worthiness. This is done through a series of five safety tests that check how vehicles respond to a variety of crashes, including small overlap and moderate front crashes as well as the strength of the vehicle's roof and how effective the head restraints are during motor vehicle accidents. To receive a top rating, a vehicle must pass all five tests and receive a rating of good or acceptable for their headlights.
According to the IIHS, larger vehicles which receive the high rating for safety tend to be generally safer than smaller vehicles that receive the same rating. This is due to their size. The organization tests all types of vehicles from minicars to large SUVs and trucks. Interestingly, the Tesla Model S, a luxury vehicle that has been touted as the safest car in history, has not received the highest safety rating since the tests found that the Tesla Model S's seat belts were not strong enough, which resulted in the crash test dummy moving too far forward during the test crash and hitting its head on steering wheel.
Even the safest of vehicles can be involved in collisions with negligent drivers. When this is the case and occupants are injured, an attorney might assist them in seeking compensation from the at-fault motorist.