Insurance Institute For Highway Safety: Its Contribution To Society

Motor insurance, as the name suggests, can be best described as the insurance purchased for trucks, motorcycles, and cars (it also includes other road vehicles). One major use of motor insurance is that it can offer financial protection in case of physical damage or bodily injury because of traffic accidents.

Specific terms of motor insurance and legal regulations vary from region to region. It also offers, in a small way, financial protection in case of vehicle theft or other damages, sustained as a result of other than traffic collisions/accidents. A motor vehicle owner pays the insurance companies the amount known as the insurance premium.

The premium is determined by multiple factors such as the age/gender of drivers, driving history, type of the insured vehicle, and the location of its insurance. If you are a motor vehicle owner, you would have known that you can get discounts based on the above-mentioned factors.

The insurance companies give an insurance card that the owner has to keep in the vehicle (at all times) so that it can come in handy in case of a traffic accident (proof of insurance). In recent times, States have passed regulations stating that electronic versions of evidence of insurance can also be accepted by Authorities.

In this article on Insurance Institute For Highway Safety, you will be given information on this independent organization that is hailed as one of the major contributors to the reduction of accidents on the roads.

Insurance Institute For Highway Safety (IIHS)

It is best known as a non-profit, educational, and scientific independent organization whose sole purpose or mission was to reduce/decrease the number of injuries & loss of human life and damage to property. Giving ample support to this organization is the Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI).

The HLDI shares information and assists in the mission of IIHS by the scientific study of data (insurance) that represents economic and human losses (these are mainly due to the operation and ownership of various kinds of vehicles). It also publishes insurance loss results of mortar vehicle models and types. Kindly let it be known that these two organizations are supported ably (and entirely) by insurance associations and auto insurers.

Since time immemorial, IIHS can be considered a leader in the prevention of accidents as it has exactly focused on the points of reducing traffic collisions as a result of motor vehicles. Its recommendations have helped diminish injury-laden crashes.

History Of Insurance Institute For Highway Safety

The organization was started/founded in the year 1959 by three insurance associations that occupied eighty percent of the US market (auto-insurance). In the primary stages, the sole purpose of the organization was to provide assistance to individuals who helped provide or helped in highway safety efforts. A decade after its inception, it was reorganized/reinvented as a research organization ( an independent body).

The person responsible for making this transition is William Haddon Jr., M.D., who saw through the transition when he became President of IIHS in 1969. From data that focused mainly on the prevention of collisions, he adopted a scientific approach to discovering multiple options that can reduce vehicle damage and collisions. Some of the factors that he stressed were:

  • Challenges associated with human factors were researched – mainly driving under the influence of alcohol, teenage driving, use of safety belts, and overwork leading to fatigue in truck drivers.
  • The research on vehicles was emphasized mainly crashworthiness and avoidance of crashes. The tests were essential to research and subsequent tests led to the development of the Vehicle Research Center (VRC).
  • Road designs, were, for the first instance, taken into consideration for minimizing the hazards on the roadside and run-off-the-road crashes.

The contribution of this organization should be appreciated as the surveys have pointed to a sizable reduction in loss of lives on roads when compared with the data from 1979. The population has multiplied and more individuals focus on long-distance drives. All these factors made a significant contribution to the improvement of design in vehicles towards safety options.

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IIHS does not focus only on vehicle design; it continues to look for new methods for improving the design of roads as well as improving the behavior of drivers. Data and surveys from this organization have made many States change their laws regarding safety belts and licensing requirements. Many community organizations have also done their part towards highway safety since they have built roundabouts and encouraged the use of automated enforcement such as speed cameras and red lights.

Vehicle Research Center

The Research Center was opened in 1992. Located in the foothills of Virginia (Central), the center contains the best equipment and instructor models to perform crash tests for rating vehicles.

These tests have changed the very pattern of buying motor vehicles. Since customers check and consult the ratings of IIHS, many automakers have changed their way of design and moved on to produce safer vehicles.

The crash tests first started in 1995 and nearly half of the vehicles in the market earned poor ratings. In recent times, nearly all motor vehicles gain good ratings when concerned with protection regarding a moderate overlap frontal crash. In the case of side impact tests (started in 2003, the same story repeated and some vehicles did not go past the good mark. In recent times, the condition has changed with almost every vehicle getting past the required marks. The other test ratings (rollover and rear) have also improved.

IIHS took a step further when it introduced the small overlap front test (designed to imitate the result of when a front end of a motor vehicle runs into another object such as a tree or pole run-off-the-road). New designs for vehicles are on in every motor vehicle company based on these standards.

IIHS has gained more credentials than what was first initiated! Keep up the good work.

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