Make us your home page
Instagram

Most new cars fail to earn insurance industry's top safety ratings

Honda, Subaru and Volvo are making strides protecting the occupants of their cars, while big manufacturers such as General Motors are lagging behind, the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety said Thursday, as it gave 22 vehicles its top safety pick rating.

Between its Honda and Acura lines, Honda landed six of the top spots.

To earn the "Top Safety Pick Plus" ranking, vehicles had to rate as "good" on four crash tests and have "good" or "acceptable" performance on a small-overlap crash, in which the front corner of a car hits an object. The vehicles also must have at least an optional forward collision warning feature that alerts drivers to the possibility of running into another car.

The requirements are stiffer than in previous years and are likely to get even harder as the institute works to make the collision warning standard on all cars.

"We want to show consumers which high-tech features are worth the money and encourage manufacturers to make them more widely available," said Russ Rader, a spokesman for the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety. "We intend to raise the bar higher."

Already, the forward collision warning is reducing vehicle-to-vehicle crashes by about 7 percent, according to insurance industry data. When it includes an automatic braking system, crash reduction more than doubles to 15 percent.

Honda has become an innovator, incorporating the latest technology into many of its vehicles and redesigning cars to better meet crash tests and protect occupants, Rader said.

Honda placed its Civic hybrid, both the two-door and four-door Accord sedan, its Odyssey minivan and Acura's RLX and MDX on the list.

Subaru's Legacy, Outback and Forester received the top rating, as did Volvo's S60, S80 and XC60. Mazda planted its Mazda3, Mazda6 and CX-5 in the highest ranking. Ford had two vehicles, the Fusion and the Lincoln MKZ. Toyota also had two, the Prius, as long as it was built after November, and the Toyota Highlander. Other top-ranked vehicles included the Infiniti Q50, the Mitsubishi Outlander and the Mercedes-Benz M-Class.

The number of vehicles earning the "Top Safety Pick" rating fell by 130 models from last year as the insurance institute raised criteria. There are now 139 models — the bulk of the market — without any safety endorsement from the institute.

Some of the largest manufacturers have lagged behind in adding active safety systems, such as collision warning and adaptive headlights. General Motors, for example, placed only its Chevrolet Spark, a small car that accounts for a tiny fraction of the nation's largest automaker's sales, on the "Top Safety Pick" list.

Most new cars fail to earn insurance industry's top safety ratings 12/19/13 [Last modified: Thursday, December 19, 2013 8:39pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, Tribune News Service.
    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Last steel beam marks construction milestone for Tom and Mary James' museum

    Growth

    ST. PETERSBURG — Tom and Mary James on Wednesday signed their names to the last steel beam framing the 105-ton stone mesa that will be built at the entrance of the museum that bears their name: the James Museum of Western and Wildlife Art.

    The topping-out ceremony of the James Museum of Western & Wildlife Art was held Wednesday morning in downtown St. Petersburg. Mary James (from left), husband Tom and Mayor Rick Kriseman signed the final beam before it was put into place. When finished, the $55 million museum at 100 Central Ave. will hold up to 500 pieces of the couple's 3,000-piece art collection. [Courtesy of James Museum of Western & Wildlife Art]
  2. Heights Public Market to host two Tampa Bay food trucks

    Business

    TAMPA — The Heights Public Market announced the first two food trucks for its "rotating stall," which will feature new restaurants every four months. Surf and Turf and Empamamas will be rolled out first.

    Heights Public Market is opening this summer inside the Tampa Armature Works building.
[SKIP O'ROURKE   |   Times file photo]

  3. Author Randy Wayne White could open St. Pete's biggest restaurant on the pier

    Food & Dining

    ST. PETERSBURG — The story begins with Yucatan shrimp.

    St. Petersburg Deputy Mayor Kanika Tomalin, pilot Mark Futch, Boca Grande, St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman, and author and businessman Randy Wayne White,  Sanibel, exit a Maule Super Rocket seaplane after taking a fight around Tampa Bay off the St. Petersburg waterfront, 6/28/17.  White and his business partners are in negotiations with the City of St. Petersburg to build a fourth Doc Ford's Rum Bar & Grille on the approach to the St. Petersburg Pier with a second event space on the pier according to White. The group met near Spa Beach after a ground breaking ceremony for the new pier. "We want to have our business open by the time the pier opens," said White. Other Dr. Ford restaurants are located on Sanibel, Captiva and Ft. Myers Beach. SCOTT KEELER   |   Times
  4. Guilty plea for WellCare Health Plans former counsel Thaddeus Bereday

    Business

    Former WellCare Health Plans general counsel Thaddeus M.S. Bereday pleaded guilty to one count of making a false statement to the Florida Medicaid program, and faces a maximum penalty of five years in federal prison. A sentencing date has not yet been set, acting U.S. Attorney W. Stephen Muldrow of the Middle District …

    WellCare Health Plans former general counsel Thaddeus M.S. Bereday, pleaded guilty to one count of making a false statement to the Florida Medicaid program, and faces a maximum penalty of five years in federal prison. A sentencing date has not yet been set, acting U.S. Attorney W. Stephen Muldrow of the Middle District of Florida stated Wednesday. [LinkedIn handout]
  5. DOT shows alternatives to former Tampa Bay Express toll lanes

    Transportation

    TAMPA — State transportation officials are evaluating at least a half-dozen alternatives to the controversial Tampa Bay interstate plan that they will workshop with the community over the next 18 months.

    Florida Department of Transportation consultant Brad Flom explains potential alternatives to adding toll lanes to Interstate 275 during a meeting Wednesday at the DOT’s Tampa office. Flom presented seven diagrams, all of which swapped toll lanes for transit, such as light rail or express bus, in the I-275 corridor from downtown Tampa to Bearss Avenue.