Smash Hit: 'Consumer Reports' Debuts Crash Test Videos

Consumer Reports is teaming with the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety to make 200 videos of crash tests for different vehicles available online, including a variety of cars, minivans, trucks and SUVs. They're posting the free videos on the Consumer Reports Web site at The goal is to help consumers make more informed, confident decisions when they purchase automobiles.

The videos of the crash tests, conducted at the IIHS Vehicle Research Center in Ruckersville, Virginia, are organized and searchable by make, model and year. The tests include both front and side-impact collisions. The videos have verbal evaluations of the overall performance and specific details of each vehicle's crash test by Jeff Bartlett, deputy editor for automobiles for the Consumer Reports Web site. Among other elements, Bartlett explains the three main measures of crash test endurance: structural performance, injury measures on the test dummy in the driver seat, and movement of the dummy during the test.



Consumer Reports plans to add more videos from IIHS as other vehicles are tested. IIHS has conducted 297 frontal crash tests and 137 side-impact crash tests since 1995.

"These videos bring the crash test data to life, showing the real safety differences between a Good car and a Poor one," according to Bartlett--referring to the high and low rankings of automobiles on the Consumer Reports scale. In a nerve-racking aside, Bartlett added: "Rest assured, you will demand side air bags on your next car after watching these videos."

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