IIHS Top and Low Scorers

A number of crash tests done by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety are challenging Tesla’s Model S and the implication it is the safest car out there. The institute announced on Wednesday night the Model S had managed an acceptable level rating which is the second in rank designation in a test that was meant to simulate offset frontal crash at 40 miles per hour.

IIHS Top and Low Scorers

According to the IIHS, the seatbelt did not prevent the head of the driver from hitting the steering wheel hard even through the already deployed air bag. In so doing, the Tesla Model S joins the Chevrolet Impala and Ford Taurus as concerns the rating level by the IIHS.

Ford’s Lincoln Continental, Toyota’s Avalon and the Mercedes E Class got the highest ratings. Tesla, though, was quick to defend itself claiming the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and many other private industry groups have means and motivations that are aligned to their subjective goals, effectively claiming the institute was biased in its assessment.


Tesla also claimed the most effective and accurate safety test carried out independently is usually done by the United States government, which had found the Model X and S to have the lowest potential for injury of vehicles tested. S,o as to get the top IIHS rating, automakers have to come up with a system for frontal crash prevention systems with snap braking capabilities that are meant to prevent rear end collisions.

The vehicles have to slow or stop without intervention from the driver before hitting a target in tests that range from 12 to 25 miles per hour along with other aspects. Both General Motors and Ford were not available to comment considering their ratings.

Tesla Relying on Biased Assessments

These results are not to say the acceptable ratings are a way of saying the Model S is unsafe, nor the Chevrolet Impala and the Taurus. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has given Tesla Models S and X five ratings, which is the highest rating possible.

That is interesting considering the Model X is the only SUV to get such a rating from the federal government. It makes sense then why Tesla prefers rating from the United States government as they provide them with the best ratings in the automotive industry.

It is not hard to see where the bias originates from considering the fail from the IIHS was not a complete one. They only stated, the Model S should not boast of having the best safety standards in the car industry.

The NHTSA’s evaluation should not include the small overlap front end collision which the safety institute blames for a fraction of the injuries and fatalities that come about because of front end collisions. IIHS executive president, Dave Zuby claimed that in order to be considered the safest vehicle, then it has to earn a ‘Good’ rating according to the IIHS and a five star rating courtesy of the NHTSA.

The Model S only satisfied the requirements of the latter to completion while only partly for the independent party which should be the one rating more considered because it is the more likely to provide objective assessments.

[See More: Tesla Autopilot Program Hits Yet Another Bump in the Road]