How the market gets people the level of safety that they want, the case of car safety

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's tests seem to cause car makers to change how their cars are designed without an push from government regulation.  Indeed, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety tests are more stringent than those by the government.  From the AP:
. . . The cars were rated for their performance in the insurance institute's "small overlap" test of crashes that cover only 25 percent of a vehicle's front end. These tests, added to the IIHS's evaluations last year, are forcing automakers to bolster the front-end structure of all cars in order to avoid bad publicity from a poor performance. 
The IIHS tests are more stringent than the U.S. government's full-width front crash test. The institute says that in many vehicles, a crash affecting one-quarter of the front end misses the main structures designed to absorb the impact. Yet such crashes account for nearly a quarter of the frontal collisions that cause serious or fatal injuries to people in the front seats, IIHS says. . . .
 Of course, the government's continual push to force people buy smaller cars is what is really endangering lives.  Note that a safe rating for a small car doesn't mean the same thing as it does for larger cars since cars are ranked relative to each other within size classes.  Here is an older article, but the point is still true as demonstrated in an interview provided here.  From the WSJ:
Large, heavy vehicles proved the safest. Nearly half of the 15 models with the lowest death rates were SUVs. Six of the best-performing vehicles were categorized as large or very large. And, not one of the safest cars was classified as small by IIHS. "SUVs haven't always in the past been the best choice for safety," said Ms. McCartt. "As a group they still have higher rollover rates, but they're getting much safer." . . .



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