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Montlick & Associates Reviews How the IIHS' Award Criteria Pressures Auto Manufacturers to Improve Headlight Quality


December 21, 2020

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), several auto manufactures stepped up the quality of their 2021 headlight offerings. The IIHS is a nonprofit scientific organization committed to decreasing accident-related injuries, deaths, and property damage.  Each year, the IIHS conducts tests and surveys to determine which automobiles offer the best overall safety.  

IIHS's Top Safety Pick+ Award has a large impact on car sales, and so automobile manufacturers pay attention to changes in the IIHS award criteria.  In 2020, the IIHS included headlight ratings in their award criteria.  In order for an automobile to qualify for IIHS's top two awards, the automobile must be equipped with higher quality headlights across all of the automobile's trim options. 

According to the IIHS, half of all fatal motor vehicle accidents in the United States happened in the dark, and about 25% of all accidents happen on unlit roads.  The IIHS decided to take on this problem about five years ago.  In 2020, the IIHS added more rigorous safety criteria for its Top Safety Pick+ award.  This was meant to encourage auto manufacturers to make higher quality headlights as standard equipment.  The result was better than expected as several manufacturers have reacted swiftly. 

In 2020, 85 out of 185 models tested came with good or acceptable rated headlights, and the models being released in 2021 appear to add ten more models to its Top Safety Pick category and even the Top Safe Pick + category. Those models are the Honda Accord, Audi A7, Mazda CX-30, Hyundai Palisade, Subaru Ascent, Nissan Altima, Toyota Highlander, Volvo XC40, Volvo S60, and the Volvo XC60.  For a model to be selected as a Top Safety Pick or Top Safety Pick+ winner, the model must also receive good ratings in all of the IIHS's six crashworthiness tests. 

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Sources:

https://www.iihs.org/news/detail/iihs-award-criteria-push-manufacturers-to-scrap-inferior-headlights

Category: Auto Accidents

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