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Number Of Cars Earning Top Safety Awards Nearly Doubles

If you're looking for a new car or SUV, it should be easier to find a safe one from the current models: The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety says the number of vehicles winning its two safety awards jumped from 39 to 71 for the 2015 model year.

The rise came despite tougher standards for current models to earn the IIHS's best ratings.

The winners range from the Chevrolet Spark and Volvo S60 to the Honda Odyssey. You can see a full list, broken down by market segment, at the IIHS website.

A spokesman for the IIHS adds that Subaru "is the only manufacturer to receive TSP awards for all models six years in a row."

Discussing the gains, the institute's president, Adrian Lund, credits better performance in small overlap front crash tests (which simulate running into objects such as telephone poles) as well as a wider use of automatic braking technology.

"Systems that don't require a driver response to avoid or mitigate a crash have the most potential for reducing crashes," Lund says.

Here's a breakdown of the carmakers that won the most awards:

  • 12: Toyota (including Lexus and Scion)
  • 10: Honda (including Acura)
  • 7: Subaru
  • 6: Nissan
  • 5: GM
  • 5: VW
  • 4: Ford
  • 4: Volvo
  • In recent years, the institute has divided its top awards into two categories: Top Safety Pick and Top Safety Pick+. The totals above include both ratings.

    For 2015, the "Plus" rating is only available to vehicles that have met the testers' highest safety criteria — and also offer a front crash prevention system with an advanced or superior rating.

    To see more ratings (of both new and older cars), you can also check out the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's site.

    Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

    Corrected: January 10, 2019 at 7:00 PM HST
    A previous version of this story incorrectly referred to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration. It is the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
    Bill Chappell is a writer and editor on the News Desk in the heart of NPR's newsroom in Washington, D.C.
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