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NHTSA Publishes Its 2012 Vehicle Crash Test List


A 2012 Chevy Sonic undergoes frontal offset crash testing. Image: GM Corp.

A 2012 Chevy Sonic undergoes frontal offset crash testing. Image: GM Corp.

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In 2010, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration revamped how they evaluate vehicles for safety ratings. Since then, only a handful of vehicles have been tested, and most didn’t fare as well as they had under previous testing guidelines.

For 2012, NHTSA will be crash-testing 74 vehicles, including 42 passenger cars, 22 SUVs and crossovers, two minivans and eight pickup trucks. By the agency’s accounting, this will yield consumer safety data on 81 percent of the model year 2012 passenger vehicles sold in the United States.

Rollover testing, some of which has already been conducted, will provide rollover-specific safety data on 92 percent of the 2012 vehicles available in the United States. The NHTSA will also begin advising drivers which vehicles come equipped with crash avoidance technologies such as lane departure warning, forward collision warning or both.

The list of vehicles to be tested includes such perpetual best sellers as the 2012 Chevy Silverado (in 2500 Series), the 2012 Ford F-150 Supercab, the 2012 Toyota Camry and the 2012 Ford Explorer. Even electric vehicles from Coda, Ford and Mitsubishi have been picked for crash testing in 2012, and the list of hybrids to be evaluated now includes the 2012 Toyota Prius v, the 2012 Honda Civic Hybrid and the 2012 Honda CR-Z.

The NHTSA will run validation testing on vehicles equipped with lane-departure warning systems and forward-collision warning systems including the 2012 BMW 328i, the 2012 Volvo S60 and the 2012 Chevy Equinox, to name just a few. This marks the first time that the agency will evaluate a manufacturer's anti-collision technology.

You’ll find the NHTSA press release, complete with a comprehensive listing of vehicles to be tested, here (PDF document link).

 
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Comments (7)
  1. Interesting list but more so for what's missing. Only two German marques, BMW and VW, not including the biggest seller, the Jetta. And I don't understand the logic by double testing, e.g., Chrysler 300 & Dodge Charger; Toyota Camry & Lexus ES 350. But, no Mercedes, Audi, Jaguar...
     
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  2. @Jim, I agree with your comments. I'm sure some vehicles have earlier test results, but these were tested to different standards. I know the government is working with a limited budget these days, but I can't make sense of the list either.
     
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  3. Great news.Now that the vehicles are equipped with so many airbags and adequate seat structures, it appears that the focus will be more devoted to crash avoidance. Many rollovers (really bad events) are triggered by a last minute steering wheel yank in an attempt to avoid running into something. Lane departure warning will help avoid the sudden over reaction to a nudge from either side.
     
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  4. @Carl, you illustrate perfectly the need for better driver training (and enforcement of distracted driving laws) in this country. We're not taught how to drive a car; instead, we're taught how to operate a motor vehicle, and the two are distinctly different.

    Driving is a deceptively easy task until something goes wrong. Then, in a fraction of a second, it becomes an incredibly delicate and complex dance with the laws of physics, and most drivers have no idea how violent a high-speed accident can be.
     
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  5. Kurt. I agree mostly. Consider this:

    At General Motors in the 1960s we had a test where you drove into a narrow lane outlined in traffic cones, with a speed measurement device. Sixty feet ahead were three traffic lights overhead showing a yellow ball. One straight ahead, one left and one right lane. As you exited the lane two lights turned red and one green. That measured three things – driver skill and reaction time and vehicle controllability.

    In 1970 when I had moved to CAL, GM asked us to validate the emergency Avoidance Maneuver (AM) so that the NHTSA would adopt it for their Safety Car program. We abandoned the three lights and advised only a left swing returning immediately to the original path, simulating avoiding a child
     
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  6. darting out from behind a parked car. Vehicle controllability at the limit was the sole criterion. When I moved to Consumers Union, they adopted that test and still use it. It became a standard for the auto industry. We measured maximum successful speed and failure mode – plow, wiggle, or spin. One thing we all learned with “man off the street” (and women) was that everyone will yank the steering wheel to the left sooner or later. What happened in the recovery section is where experience and training mattered. You might be pleased to learn that most people got the hang of it once the surprise* aspect was gone. There are several things that I am proud of. Making the AM test a standard is one big one.
     
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  7. *Long story how the test was modified to do that. Braking or acceleration was prohibited.
     
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