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NHTSA RELEASES THIRD GROUP OF CRASH TEST RESULTS

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government

NHTSA RELEASES THIRD GROUP OF CRASH TEST RESULTS

NHTSA
June 4, 1999

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
NHTSA 25-99
Friday, June 4, 1999
Contact: NHTSA, Tim Hurd, (202) 366-9550

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) today released the third group of frontal and side crash test results for model year 1999 vehicles.

The frontal crash impact test results are included for the Oldsmobile Intrigue four-door, Chevrolet Astro van, Dodge Grand Caravan van, Dodge Durango 4x4 four-door utility, Jeep Grand Cherokee 4x4 four-door utility, Nissan Pathfinder 4x4 four-door utility, and the Dodge Ram four-door Quad Cab pickup. These new test results, along with results for vehicles tested previously that remain valid because the manufacturers are selling the same or essentially the same vehicles in model year 1999, provide frontal impact safety information on a total of 100 vehicles.

Vehicles are crashed at 35 mph such that the entire front impacts against a rigid, fixed barrier. This crash is equivalent to a head-on collision between two identical vehicles, each moving at 35 mph, or with a 70 mph closing speed. Crash-test dummies are placed in the driver and front passenger seats. These instrumented dummies register forces and impacts during the crash, which NHTSA uses to predict frontal head and chest injuries.

The New Car Assessment Program crash test results are reported in a range of one to five stars, with five stars showing the best crash protection for vehicles within the same weight class. Head and chest data, which show the chance of a life-threatening injury, are combined into a single rating, reflected by the number of stars. These represent a vehicle's relative level of crash protection in a head-on collision. Thigh injury also is measured. If a high likelihood of thigh injury is shown in the frontal impact test, it will be noted in the charts.

NHTSA emphasized that the crash test results for frontal impact are meaningful only for comparing relative injury risk in frontal collisions between vehicles of similar weight, within an approximate weight range of 500 pounds. The test results for passenger cars are presented in separate tables for each weight class and listed alphabetically within each table. Separate tables are provided for sport utility vehicles, vans, and light trucks. In head-on collisions involving two vehicles of different weights, occupants in lighter weight vehicles usually experience greater risk of injury than those in heavier vehicles.

Side-impact crash test results included are for the Toyota Camry Solara two-door, Dodge Grand Caravan van, Nissan Pathfinder 4x4 four-door utility with side air bags for the torso and head, and the Toyota Tacoma extended cab pickup. In model year 1999, side-impact crash testing has been expanded to include light trucks, vans, and sport utility vehicles. These new test results, along with results for vehicles tested previously that remain valid because the manufacturers are selling the same or essentially the same vehicles in model year 1998, provide side impact safety information on a total of 88 vehicles.

The combination of frontal and side crash tests in the New Car Assessment Program (NCAP) gives consumers relative safety information on the two most common injury-causing crash events--frontal and side impacts. In the attached tables, the safety information is provided from both the frontal and side NCAP tests.

The federal safety agency said the side crash used to test these passenger cars simulates a typical intersection collision between two vehicles. In the tests, forces are measured on two crash dummies when a moving, deformable barrier is impacted at an angle into the side of a car at 38.5 mph.

Crash-test dummies--designed specifically to measure human-like responses in the side direction--are placed in the driver position and in the rear seat position behind the driver. Instruments measure the force of impact to the dummy's chest and pelvis. The chest data, which shows the chance of life-threatening injury, is signified in a single rating reflected by the number of stars. Pelvic injury also is measured. If a high likelihood of pelvic injury occurs in the lateral test, the consumer is also informed of this possible injury by a pound symbol.

NHTSA advised consumers, in reviewing the front and lateral star ratings, to keep in mind that in real world crashes vehicles are twice as likely to be involved in severe frontal crashes as in severe side crashes. Test results show the relative crash protection provided to occupants using all of the vehicle's occupant protection equipment. Occupant protection equipment consists of safety belts, air bags, or a combination of both. The results do not apply to unbelted occupants. The occupant protection equipment provided on each tested vehicle is shown to the right of the vehicle's overall score.

Consumers can obtain more detailed information on these crash results by visiting NHTSA's World Wide Web site, http://www.nhtsa.dot.gov/cars/testing/ncap/, or by calling the agency's toll-free Auto Safety Hotline, 800-424-9393.

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