The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety is an independent, nonprofit, scientific and educational organization dedicated to reducing the losses -- deaths, injuries, and property damage -- from crashes on the nation’s highways. The Institute is wholly supported by auto insurers.















Just another day in the sun with the kids? Hardly. The Hybrid III dummy family works the frontal impact crash tests conducted by NHTSA and the IIHS. The 1-year-old dummy (on Dad's lap) is used to test car seats. (Photo courtesy of Insurance Institute for Highway Safety)
When it's time to buy a car, crash test ratings can make or break the deal. Did the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) give your top candidate a five-star rating? Did the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) name it a "Best Pick"? What's behind those ratings is typically 30 or more crash tests, conducted by the auto manufacturer as well as the two safety agencies, at a cost totaling more than $8 million. And it's not just about cars crashing into barriers; it's about the crash test dummies strapped into their seats.

Crash test dummies tell researchers what injuries humans are likely to experience in a similar real-world car crash. It's this data that the crash test ratings really reflect; they tell you how well a vehicle is going to protect you, and your loved ones, in a crash. Today, safety testers call upon an entire "family" of dummies — several adults and a whole brood of kids who range in "age" from six months to six years — when evaluating a car's crashworthiness.

Crash test ratings are based on the severity of the "injuries" received by the dummies inside each vehicle. (Photo courtesy of National Highway Traffic Safety Administration)
Watch a frontal offset test demo Watch a side view Accord test demo
Luxury Cars/SUVs
Side impact Barrier into side
5 mph Rear into pole
40 mph Front into barrier

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