Insurance Institute for Highway Safety

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The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, or IIHS, was founded in 1959 to encourage academic research for car safety. The nonprofit organization continues to make advancements in preventing highway crashes and protecting passengers. Funded by a group of auto insurers, the IIHS operates a Vehicle Research Center in Virginia with crash testing facilities that help study what causes motor vehicle accidents and the safety features that can prevent them. The IIHS conducts research using a three-angle approach to understanding accidents: human cause, vehicular cause and environment cause.

Highway Loss Data Institute

The IIHS also runs the Highway Loss Data Institute, which includes a database of more than 150 million passenger vehicles that helps provide insurance loss information. With statistics on losses of six different kinds of coverage, consumers can learn which cars are the most expensive and least expensive to insure.

Safety awards and evaluations from IIHS

Each year, the IIHS conducts tests of new vehicles to award its “Top Safety Picks.” With a four-tiered ranking system that evaluates the level of protection an auto provides for its passengers, a Top Safety Pick must have good ratings in all of the Institute’s tests. Check out a recent good performance in the IIHS tests with the 2009 Ford Flex. The 2010 Flex models (built after January 2010) were awarded with a Top Safety Pick.

Research and regulation explanation from IIHS

In addition to crash tests for vehicles, the IIHS provides useful information for parents on child car seat ratings and child restraints. The IIHS website also offers a comprehensive collection of state driving laws including cell phone use restrictions and speed limits.

The IIHS headquarters is located here:

1005 N. Glebe Road, Suite 800

Arlington, VA 22201

To reach the IIHS office, drivers can call (703) 247-1500.

Written by
David McMillin
Contributing writer
David McMillin writes about credit cards, mortgages, banking, taxes and travel. David's goal is to help readers figure out how to save more and stress less.