Vehicle Safety: Today and Tomorrow

2017-01-11-1-ssv-ageeMarshie Agee is the communication liaison for the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. In her position Marshie speaks to groups visiting the IIHS Vehicle Research Center, and we were fortunate to have her at the SSV January meeting. The program was moderated by SSV Vice President Rich DeMong.

Ms. Agee spoke about these issues surrounding traffic safety.

  • Crash testing and consumer ratings programs have made vehicles safer than ever.
  • Autonomous vehicles get lots of attention, and they do have the potential to make automobile travel even safer. However, none of us can buy one now, and there are many issues to be resolved before they can become mainstream.
  • Crash avoidance technologies like auto-braking are the building blocks for autonomous cars, and these systems are already on the market and reducing crashes.
  • Despite the promise of technology, it’s important not to forget about things we can do right now to improve safety, no matter what kind of vehicles people are driving. Lowering speed limits, using automated enforcement to deter both speeders and red light runners, and improving enforcement of safety belt use and impaired driving laws are proven ways to bring down the death toll.

A PDF version of the PowerPoint presented is here and the podcast is below.

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Marshie Agee is the communication liaison for the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. In her position Marshie speaks to groups visiting the IIHS Vehicle Research Center about the Institute’s work and represents the Institute at conferences and community events. She also fields consumer inquiries about the Institute’s research and presents research findings on the web for both the media and general public. Marshie has been with the Institute since 2004. She received a bachelor’s degree from Wake Forest University and a Ph.D. from the University of Virginia. Before joining the Institute, she worked as web designer and a teacher.

Program Summary

Dozens of people gasped and grimaced as they watched brand-new cars slam into barriers during a lecture at the Senior Center on Wednesday.

Marshie Agee, communications liaison for the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, presented these crash-test videos and a wealth of information at a meeting of the Senior Statesmen of Virginia.

The IIHS is an independent, nonprofit organization that aims to reduce deaths, injuries and property damage from crashes on U.S. roads through scientific research and educational outreach. The IIHS and its partner organization, the Highway Loss Data Institute, are entirely funded by auto insurers and insurance associations.

“We hope that we have changed the way consumers go about buying cars,” Agee said. “We hope the first question consumers ask before buying a vehicle is not whether it is fast or sporty, but whether it is safe.”

The IIHS established its Vehicle Research Center in Ruckersville 25 years ago and has conducted crash tests on cars there since 1995. Automakers covet the institute’s annual Top Safety Pick awards, which recognize new models that perform best in its safety tests.

“Manufacturers love using these awards in their advertising,” Agee said. “If we dangle that carrot out there, it encourages them to make [safety] improvements.”
In 1995, fewer than 25 percent of vehicle models received the highest safety rating, “Good,” in the institute’s first round of frontal crash tests. That percentage rapidly increased, and today, virtually all new models get the top rating for this test.
The IIHS has gradually expanded its testing regimen for new vehicles over the years.

“We don’t let the manufacturers rest on their laurels for very long before we introduce a new challenge,” Agee said. The IIHS conducts five different crashworthiness tests today: moderate overlap front, small overlap front, side, roof strength and head restraints/seats.

This is excerpted from an article written by Josh Mandell (jmandell@cvilletomorrow.org) that was printed in the January 12 issue of The Daily Progress. You can access the entire article at: http://www.cvilletomorrow.org/news/article/26029-crash-tests-and-autonomous-vehicles/

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