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Car Safety Ratings: How Are They Actually Determined?

» Posted July 30, 2018Resources | Share This Post

Buying a safe and reliable car is essential, because a car with problems can cost you time and money and put your safety at risk. If your vehicle turns out to be unreliable, a California lemon law attorney can provide you with help in pursuing remedies and taking any appropriate legal action.

Of course, it's far easier to buy a reliable car than to deal with the aftermaths of problems. Car safety ratings can help you to determine which cars are most likely to be dependable, but these ratings don't necessarily guarantee the car won't have issues.

Before deciding to rely on safety ratings when purchasing your vehicle, it is helpful to know how those ratings are determined. Business Insider recently provided insight into the process that the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety uses for its rating system.

How are Car Safety Ratings Actually Determined?

According to Business Insider, there are four key factors that IIHS considers when the Institute determines how to rate a vehicle in terms of its safety. These factors include the survival space the vehicle provides; how effective the car's seat belts are; the vehicle's air bags, and measurements from crash test dummies that determine the impact of collisions on the human body.

Different kinds of crash tests are conducted to assess what happens in different accident types. These include three frontal crash tests; a side impact crash test; and a test of a rear-end crash.

When IIHS uses a crash test dummy, the dummy comes equipped with sensors. Measurements are taken from these sensors in order to determine how the impact from a collision will affect the vehicle occupant's vital organs. The dummy used in the crash test also has grease paint applied to the face, legs, and hands in order to determine if these body parts come into contact with any hard surfaces during the motor vehicle accident.

Survival space also matters because the less space there is in the occupant compartment of vehicles, the more dangerous for occupants. If the occupant compartment is crushed in an accident, airbags and seat belts are much less likely to be able to effectively do their jobs to protect vehicle occupants. 

As far as airbags, IIHS measures how fast they deploy and how effective they are. And seat belts are tested to determine if they keep crash test dummies in place when the impact of an accident occurs.

IIHS conducts tests of the most popular vehicles on the market in order to provide insight into which vehicles are more or less likely to protect those involved in accidents. Those who are buying cars can use this information to choose a car that's considered to be as safe as possible.

Of course, even if you buy a vehicle that has excellent safety ratings, the car can still turn out to be a lemon with lots of defects. If your new vehicle gives you problems, reach out to a California lemon law attorney as soon as possible to find out the best approach to pursuing a remedy.


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