The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety or IIHS was formed in 1959 with and its main aim is to lower the number of motor vehicle accidents as well as the amount of injuries and property damage as a result of the vehicle crashes. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety is based in Arlington Virginia where it conducts research and prepares reliability ratings for popular passenger vehicles as well as to consumer products used within a vehicle such as child car booster seats.
Some functions such as front car testing of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety are also conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
Frontal crash testing
The front car testing is important in assessing the integrity of the vehicle front during a frontal impact just like the aim of the new car assessment program of NHTSA.
The frontal crash test is also used for evaluating integrity of passenger restraint system used in a vehicle such as seat belts and airbags. The IIHS provides evaluation on six different categories and classifies these categories as either poor, marginal, acceptable and good prior to evaluating vehicle based on overall side impact resisting capability.
Head restraint test
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety also determines the reliability of head restraints used in a vehicle by testing the driver seat of the vehicle. In this test, the seat of the driver is positioned on a sled so as to portray a rear end collision for a vehicle traveling speed of 20 miles per hour. The IIHS also evaluates the integrity of vehicle roofs since 25 percent of vehicle passenger fatalities is a result of a vehicle crash when vehicle rolls over.
Head on crash test
The IIHS on its 50th year of existence in 2009 subjected a 1959 Chevrolet Bel Air into a crashing head-on test together with a 2009 Chevrolet Malibu traveling at 40 miles per hour. The compartment of the Bel Air was totally damaged by the crash mainly due to the absence of modern safety devices such as seat belts and airbags. The recorded forces generated during the crash would have caused serious injuries to a real passenger and driver. The crash test dummy placed in the Malibu recorded impact forces that would only result to a minor foot injury to a real vehicle driver.