2011 Chevrolet Cruze crash testEnlarge Photo
1) Star Ratings Do Correspond To Injury and Fatality Rates
Star safety ratings aren't like restaurant or hotel ratings. They're rooted in precise instrumented testing with crash-test dummies, and they really do correspond to your chances of avoiding bodily harm and surviving a crash.
"Vehicles because of crash tests are much safer today than even ten years ago," said Russ Rader of the IIHS. The average probability of injury for drivers in official NHTSA crash-test conditions was cut in half from 1995 to 2008. With that, star ratings have become more stringent, with the most significant change in years arriving this past year, for the 2011 model year.
And if you look at IIHS and NHTSA ratings together, as the non-profit safety group Informed For Life has done (in addition to accounting for vehicle weight), there's an even closer correlation.
"There's no reason to settle for a vehicle that doesn't get top marks in both tests," advised Russ Rader of the IIHS.