Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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Laura Walker graduated college with a BS in Criminal Justice with a minor in Political Science. She married her husband and began working in the family insurance business in 2005. She became a licensed agent and wrote P&C business focusing on personal lines insurance. Laura serviced existing business and wrote new business. She now uses her insurance background to help educate drivers about...

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Reviewed by Laura Walker
Licensed Agent for 10 Years

UPDATED: Feb 4, 2020

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The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety is a non-profit organization funded by car insurance companies dedicated to the reduction of injuries, fatalities and property damage resulting from car accidents.

Founded in 1959 the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has a long history testing vehicle safety using dedicated testing facilities which can simulate almost any car accident scenario.

While initially founded simply to support the highway safety of others the company changed its focus in 1969 to become an independent research organization. The IISH plays a critical role in vehicle safety ratings today and these ratings influence how much car insurance premiums are for different types of vehicles.

The IISH also works in conjunction with the Highway Loss Data Institute.

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What kind of testing does the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety perform?

Since its beginning the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has been an integral part of vehicle safety ratings and has focused its research primarily to achieve answers to two questions:

  • Determine what works and doesn’t work to reduce/prevent car accidents
  • How to minimize car accident injuries in motor vehicle accidents

How answers to these questions are determined involves a very scientific approach with real-life simulations done daily at the IIS crash testing facilitates. Much of the testing is done around three main variables including:

  • Human Factors – such as how driving under the influence, fatigue, texting while driving and the use of safety belts relate to car accident injuries
  • Vehicle Safety – through testing of vehicle safety feature sand how they release to crash avoidance and car accident injuries
  • Environmental Factors – how road signs, highway design, and other factors affect, or prevent motor vehicle crashes

Many agencies and insurers provide a lot of credit to the research published by IIHS for being one of the key reasons why the number of fatalities in motor vehicle accidents has been steadily declining for the last three decades.

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How does the Information Institute for Highway Safety test vehicles?

Much of the research conducted by the IIHS is done at its dedicated vehicle research facility in Virginia where the organization has many crash-testing simulation areas that simulate real-life accidents using life-size crash test dummies.

The IIHS is also well known for its annual TOP SAFETY PICKS ratings and annually publishes a list of vehicles who have earned such a high distinction. The results of these tests are taken very seriously by car insurance companies, and vehicles who earn a top safety pick award generally cost less to insure than comparable models and can often lead to much higher sales for the particular vehicle.

Before buying any vehicle, you need to research its safety ratings, and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety is one of the most well-respected agencies around. The IIHS also produces a wealth of data in conjunction with the Highway Loss Data Institute about booster seat safety ratings, gender differences between drivers, young drivers, and more.

Car insurance companies always reward safer vehicles with car insurance discounts but vehicle safety ratings only play one role in the overall risk profile for any drivers. Start a car insurance comparison search today to find the best auto insurance rates online

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