The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has reported that it is developing a new and upgraded crash test focusing on the effects of side crashes. West Virginia drivers should know that this test will likely be launched in 2020. The updates to the side testing include a higher impact speed and a heavier movable barrier.
The nonprofit institute has been performing side crash tests since 2003. Thanks to the use of movable barriers that mimic the height and shape of vehicles’ front ends, the tests have played a crucial role in the improvement of occupant protection. In particular, automakers began to install head-protecting side airbags and strengthen the side structures of their vehicles to pass the test. This was before such improvements became the subject of a federal regulation.
The IIHS states that vehicles that pass the side crash test make it 70% less likely for drivers to die in a left-side crash. Still, side crash deaths make up a large portion of passenger occupant deaths, and this led the institute to believe that its tests were no longer challenging to automakers.
The upgraded crash test will be conducted at 37 mph rather than 31 mph. The weight of the movable barrier will be increased to 4,200 pounds, which is the average weight of a 2019 model SUV.
Side crashes can lead to serious injuries no matter how well-protected a vehicle may be, in which case victims may consider filing insurance claims. To file a personal injury claim and be eligible for damages, victims must be less than 50% to blame for a crash. Whatever their degree of fault, that will naturally lower whatever amount they are eligible for, so victims may want a lawyer to assist them in negotiating for a fair settlement.