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72 Motor Vehicles Receive IIHS Top Safety Pick Awards for 2009

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has announced its TOP SAFETY PICKS for 2009. 72 motor vehicles earned TOP SAFETY PICK awards, which is more than twice the number of vehicles that received the award for 2008.
Garnering a top safety pick award means that a vehicle does the best job it can to protect vehicle occupants during front, rear, and side auto collisions, as evidenced during IIHS tests. All award winners also come with electronic stability control (ESC), which helps motorists stay in control of their cars in the event of vehicle instability. ESC also decreases the chances of a deadly single-vehicle accident occurring by about 50% and reduces the risks of deadly rollover accidents by up to 70%.
Leading the pack with the most TOP SAFETY PICK awards is Ford and subsidiary Volvo with 16 winners, including the Ford Taurus and the Ford Fusion. Acura, Honda, and Subaru were also big winners with at least one TOP SAFETY PICK in each class where they submitted a vehicle.

Included among the TOP SAFETY PICK winners are Acura RL, 4-door Honda Accord, Subaru Tribeca, Cadillac DTS, Ford Fusion (with optional ESC), 4-door Honda Civic with optional ESC (except for the Si model), Saab 9-3, Volvo C70, Honda Fit, Hyundai Entourage, Buick Enclave, Audi Q7, Honda Pilot, Nissan Murano, Toyota Tacoma, and Volkswagen TIguan. For a complete list of TOP SAFETY PICK winners, visit the IIHS Web site (see link below).
Due to inadequate head restraint designs, 26 models, including the Toyota Prius Hybrid, the Kia Amanti, and the Chevrolet Malibu, failed to earn TOP SAFETY PICK awards despite good results during side and frontal crash tests. Chrysler, which is the only big automaker that did not win any TOP SAFETY PICK awards would have had five awards if its Dodge Avenger, Sebring Convertible, Chrysler Sebring, Chrysler Town & County, and Dodge Grand Caravan came with better head restraints. The Institute says drivers of motor vehicles with good seat/head restraints have a 15% less chance of suffering neck injuries in rear-end collisions. Neck strain or sprain is the most common kind of injury reported by traffic accident victims.
Unfortunately, there are many motor vehicles in the marketplace that continue to pose a danger to motorists because they are poorly designed or are made with faulty vehicle parts. Regular auto recalls continue to reflect that there is much more that auto manufacturers and safety officials must do to improve auto safety so that deadly motor vehicle accidents are prevented.
72 Winners of 2009 TOP SAFETY PICK Awards, IIHS, November 25, 2008
Gallery of Some of the TOP SAFETY PICK winners,
Related Web Resources:
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety
Procedures for rating seat/head restraints, IIHS

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