February 13, 2015

Safety is top of mind for many motorists when purchasing a new vehicle, and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety announced through its annual report that the automobile industry continues to innovate in its pursuit of safety. The IHS recently released its Top Safety Picks for 2015, a list that includes 39 more vehicles than just one year ago.

In all, 71 models appeared on the institute’s annual list, which awards vehicles in two categories: Top Safety Pick and Top Safety Pick+. The sizable jump in safety winners from 2014 signals both an industry that is revolutionizing automobile safety while simultaneously providing more choices than ever to consumers.

Perhaps most notably, the 71 Top Safety Picks for 2015 came despite an increase in the testing standards by the IHS for its coveted Top Safety Pick+.

"This is the third year in a row that we are giving automakers a tougher challenge to meet," said HIS President Adrian Lund in a statement released by IHS. "The quest for TOP SAFETY PICK and TOP SAFETY PICK+ awards is driving improvement in the small overlap front crash test and getting manufacturers to offer automatic braking technology on more and more vehicles."

The IHS awarded 33 vehicles as Top Safety Pick+ winners, a jump from 22 just one year ago.

Each year, the IHS puts vehicles through rigorous and detailed crash analysis tests at its research facility in search of the safest cars on the road. As a Top Safety Pick winner, vehicles must earn good ratings in the moderate overlap, front, side roof strength and head restraint tests as well as a good or acceptable rating in the small overlap front test.

Meanwhile, Top Safety Pick+ winners must already meet the Top Safety Pick criteria while also earning advanced or superior front crash prevention ratings. Top Safety Pick+ winners with optional front crash prevention qualify for the higher award only when equipped with the technology.

An emerging tool in vehicle safety, front crash prevention technology uses sensors and autonomous braking systems to help prevent or minimize the impact of potential collisions.

The IHS went on to report that in a field of 24 vehicles tested for front crash prevention ratings, four earned perfect scores while 13 earned superior ratings and three earned basic ratings. Models that achieved a perfect score included the BMW 5 series large luxury car, the BMW X5 midsize luxury SUV, Hyundai Genesis large luxury car and Mercedes Benz E-Class large luxury car.

The IHS publishes its full list of Top Safety Picks each year and provides consumers with the full list on its website.

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