The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety released its annual Top Safety Pick+ awards to 71 cars for 2015. Compared to last year's awards, the number of vehicles deemed top-of-the-line in safety standards has nearly doubled.
With rigorous crash testing and improvements in key safety features, more models of newer cars are becoming safer, improving driver habits and leading to fewer accidents. In many cases, manufacturers are making car frames stronger and better able to absorb high-impact forces in the event of a wreck. And with new technology paving the way for a new type of human-car interaction, vehicles are more capable than ever of protecting occupants.
Here are just a few of the vehicles that earned the Top Safety Pick+ award, according to IIHS:
Mid-sized mid-priced car
"This is the third year in a row that we are giving automakers a tougher challenge to meet," said Adrian Lund, president of IIHS. "The quest for Top Safety Pick and Top Safety Pick+ awards is driving improvement in the small overlap front crash test and getting manufacturers to offer automatic braking technology on more and more vehicles."
As the industry continues to place an emphasis on safety, prices for advanced cars may fall as they become more available. This will allow average drivers the chance to purchase more affordable high-end vehicles, thus improving the overall safety of drivers on the road.
A host of new car additions have raised the level of safety and security each year. Safercar.gov tracks new regulations and industry standards, breaking down features into categories of standard, additional and recommended based on information from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
In recent years, the federal government has enacted minimum safety requirements aimed at standardizing vehicle features. Safercar.gov noted electronic stability control is now required in all vehicles because it helps drivers maintain control in the event of extreme conditions.
The more advanced features fall under the recommended category, with full implementation of these features still years away. With rearview cameras and sensors that will detect if you're getting too close to the car in front of you, these technologies interact directly with real-time driving behaviors. In many cases, careless or distracted driving can be avoided because these systems are preset to minimize potential dangers.
Some of the greatest benefactors of increased safety efforts are drivers looking to reduce their auto insurance costs. There are numerous safety discounts available from insurers, and the likelihood of filing a claim declines as cars advance. Fewer claims equal cheaper insurance.
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