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2017 auto models see far fewer top ratings than 2016 models

Not all cars are the same when it comes to safety. So safety is one thing car buyers may want to give a close look at when deciding what car is right for them. Among the things such buyers might look at when trying to gauge how safe a car they are looking at is are safety ratings.

Recently, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety issued its safety ratings for vehicles of the 2017 model year. How did the 2017 models fair in the ratings? Well, the top rating the IIHS gives, the "Top Safety Pick Plus" rating, was much more rare among 2017 models than it had been among 2016 models.

In fact, the total of 2017 models given this rating was less than half of the total number for 2016 models. This rating had been given to 79 vehicle models from the 2016 model year. For the 2017 model year, only 38 models received this rating.

Why the big drop in top-rated vehicles? Changes in the criteria for the ratings are being pointed to as a big contributor. One class of criteria where there were big changes was headlight safety. The standards for such safety were toughened. So, among the concerns the lower number of top ratings for 2017 models raise are concerns regarding the headlight safety of vehicles in America.

One wonders if a similar trend to the 2017 models will be found when the time for the next model year of cars to be rated comes around.

Sometimes, a car crosses the line from just having room for improvement regarding safety to having safety defects that make it unreasonably dangerous. It can sometimes be difficult to tell when this line has been crossed. This is a concern that can pose challenges for victims of auto accidents when it comes to determining what avenues for compensation they may be able to pursue, such as determining whether a product liability lawsuit regarding their car or its components might be an available option. Skilled lawyers can assist car crash victims in looking into whether auto defects were present in and contributed to their accident.

Source: USA Today, "Why only 38 cars earned IIHS top safety pick status," Nathan Bomey, Dec. 8, 2016

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