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Up, 3 Down in IIHS Large-Car Crash Tests

06 July 2017

On the eve of seeing its first mass-market Model 3 roll off the assembly line, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety said that despite changes made to the vehicles produced after January, the Model S was again only able to attain an acceptable rating in the small-overlap test conducted in February. Automakers strive for top ratings in IIHS tests as they do on federal crash tests.

The cars were subjected to tests for small overlap front crashes, moderate overlap front crashes, side impact crashes, roof strength and protection from head restraints.

In one test, the small overlap front collision, the front driver's side corner slams into a barrier at 40 miles per hour. "Acceptable" is one notch below "Good", the best rating possible by the IIHS.

Crashed Tesla Model S
Up, 3 Down in IIHS Large-Car Crash Tests

IHS said the Taurus had not been tested for the recently added crash test prior to 2017 either. Furthermore, after Tesla said it corrected the problem, the Insurance Institute did the small overlap crash test a second time and came up with a similar result.

The company also was investigated for a fatal crash in May 2016 involving a driver of a Model S using the Tesla's autopilot feature.

Chevrolet Impala, Ford Motor Co's Taurus and Tesla's Model S were the three sedans that got "only an acceptable rating" in a test created to simulate what happens when the front driver-side corner of a vehicle strikes a tree or another vehicle, the IIHS said.

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Small overlap crashes account for about 25 percent of the serious driver injuries and deaths that occur in frontal impacts, IIHS says. The Lincoln Continental, Mercedes-Benz E-Class and Toyota Avalon earned the Top Safety Pick Plus award, IIHS' highest designation, while the Tesla Model S, Chevrolet Impala and Ford Taurus fared poorly.

To qualify for the Top Safety Pick or Top Safety Pick+ award, cars have to receive good ratings from IIHS in five tests that are created to measure crash-worthiness.

To qualify for Top Safety Pick+, a vehicle must also receive good or acceptable ratings for its headlights.

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Tesla said the most objective and accurate independent vehicle safety test is done by the USA government, which found Model S and Model X to have the lowest probability of injury of any cars that it has ever tested.

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Up, 3 Down in IIHS Large-Car Crash Tests