Have you ever looked at something important like your vehicle's safety rating and not understood any of it? Well, here's a quick explanation behind the technical jargon.

Vehicle Safety Ratings Explained

Understanding Car Safety Ratings

First of all, you should understand that your car, truck or SUV may have up to two different ratings, or in some cases, no rating at all. The reason for this is because there are two agencies that do the testing:

  • National Highway Transportation Safety Association
  • The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety

Unfortunately, even with two agencies, not every model gets tested.

Also, NHTSA and IIHS have different testing and rating systems in place. They're not made to compete against each other, but some do prefer one rating over another.

At Auto Credit Express, if your vehicle does have a rating from each company, compare them to get a better understanding of the safety it has to offer you and your loved ones.

NHTSA Ratings

Using a star ratings system, the NHTSA rates vehicles based on the likelihood of a serious injury - any injury that requires immediate attention or can be life threatening. Bruises and scratches don't count.

Five Stars - 0 - 10% chance of serious injury/death.

Four Stars - 11-20% chance of serious injury/death.

Three Stars - 21-35% chance of serious injury/death.

Two Stars - 36-45% chance of serious injury/death.

One Star - 46% or greater chance of serious injury/death.

Not only are the scores different, NHTSA also handles some of their tests in different ways once again giving you a broad definition of your vehicles safety.

IIHS Ratings

Using a more straightforward rating system, the IIHS scores do not relate to bodily injury but so instead focuses on the structural integrity of the vehicle.

Good - 46% less likely to die compared to Poor.

Acceptable or Marginal - 33% less likely to die compared to Poor.

Poor - Chances of death are high in the event of a crash.

Again, IIHS does their testing differently and also tests a couple of areas that NHTSA does not such as the moderate overlap front crash test or rankings for front crash prevention systems. Overall, the IIHS wants to find the safest vehicles with the lowest cost repairs.

As We See It

Trying to figure out how safe your vehicle is can leave you scratching your head sometimes. However, having a great dealer that can help you by explaining the differences is one way to help you get the best vehicle for you needs. At Auto Credit Express, it is our goal to help you locate the best dealer in your local area. Our nationwide network is one three-minute application away. What are you waiting for?