The number of vehicles ranked highest for keeping occupants alive and safe in a crash rose 82% for 2015 models, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety‘s latest report released 12/23/14. The positive increase came in spite of more stringent tests…with Toyota Motor Corp. claiming the top spot on the list with the most safe models.
But the IIHS good news about more safe vehicles has been overshadowed by the number of 2014 U.S. Recalls this year…reaching over 60 million vehicles…almost twice the previous recall record. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has been busy issuing fines and subpoenas in response to decade old defects linked to injuries and deaths.
2014 Record Recalls:
- General Motors – nearly 27 million vehicles recalled in 2014…a record for any single automaker. Defective small car ignition switches have been linked to over 58 injuries and 42 deaths.
- Honda Motor Co. – 5.4 million vehicles recalled to replace Takata Corp. airbags. Unstable propellant in Takata airbag inflators can cause them to explode with too forcefully…throwing shrapnel throughout the car in a crash situation. The shrapnel issue is related to at least 100 injuries and four deaths in the U.S.
Two of the top IIHS concerns for future vehicles is focusing on pressuring automakers to develop and implement technology that automatically applies braking without driver control to avoid a crash…and designing and constructing stronger bodies for certain kinds of frontal crashes.
The Chrysler 200 sedan from FCA US LLC was the only model from a traditional U.S. brand to be included among the safest 33 vehicles…called “Top Safety Pick+“. Toyota dominated that group with eight models winning a spot in the coveted top 33.