Even as the design of cars become increasingly safety focused and even automated, speed, texting, and driving while under the influence contribute to a rising number of deaths from motor vehicle crashes, particularly in the United States. Asian car manufacturers nearly swept the 2016 motor vehicle safety rankings by the US Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), securing nine of the top 10 spots. Only Daimler's (Germany) Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class joined Toyota, Hyundai, Subaru, and Honda in the top 10. The IIHS testing of new cars in the North American market covered three safety components:
This year’s crashworthiness tests were distinctive from years past because of new, more stringent regulations related to vehicles’ front optics performance. The IIHS test is the world's first official rating of reliability and quality of the front headlights based on how well a particular vehicle illuminates the road at night and the degree to which short-range headlights "blind" oncoming drivers.
Car safety features and overall design along with traffic speed and the use of seatbelts are considered central factors in the number of traffic deaths worldwide. According to a 2008 estimate from the World Health Organization, 1.2 million people died globally in motor vehicle crashes. North America, Western Europe, and Australia have the safest roads, with the total number of traffic deaths ranging from 2.7 to 12 deaths per 100,000 people.
Methodology note: IIHS simplified its estimation methodology to more clearly distinguish among the tested vehicles on the basis of numerical values, replacing letter grades, and to shift to a numerical overall rating. The Institute now uses a 4-point grading scale—poor (1), marginal (2), acceptable (3), and good (4)—for crashworthiness, crash avoidance and mitigation, and child seat anchors. To appraise front crash prevention, the Institute uses a 3-level scale: basic (1-2), advanced (2-3), and superior (4-6). A car receives a crash prevention score of zero if a feature is not available for testing.
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