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Front Impact Crash Test Ratings: Front crash tests conducted by US Government sponsored agencies report the results of vehicle impacts head on against a solid concrete wall at specified speeds. In some cases frontal impact testings is conducted in vehicle to vehicle tests. See Overview of Crash Test Ratings.
The Government performs the frontal crash ratings as follows:
In frontal crash ratings tests, crash test dummies representing an average sized adult are placed in driver and front passenger seats while secured in the test vehicle with factory seat belts. The Vehicles are then driven and crashed into a fixed barrier at 35 miles per hour. This force is equal to a head on collision between two similar weight vehicles each moving toward one another at 35 mph. When examining frontal crash star ratings be sure to compare vehicles in the same weight class because the rating reflects a crash between two similar vehicles (plus or minus 250 lbs).
What you Really want to know: What do the tests really mean? The star ratings are designed to help consumers evaluate safety.
5 Stars = 10% or less chance of serious injury
4 Stars = 11% to 20% chance of serious injury
3 Stars = 21% to 35% chance of serious injury
2 Stars = 36% to 45% chance of serious injury
1 Star = 46% or greater chance of serious injury
These ratings are based on the results of instruments that measure the force of impact and how it affected the crash test dummy's head, neck, chest, pelvis, legs and feet. Frontal star ratings above rate the chance of a serious head and chest injury to the driver as well as the right front seat passenger. A serious injury is defined by the test as one requiring immediate hospitalization and may be life threatening. See Also Side Impact Crash Test Overview , Rollover Crash Tests
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Crash Tests are based on Vehicle Weight and Class. NHTSA categorizes vehicles by class and "curb" weight. Curb weight represents the weight of a vehicle with standard equipment including the maximum capacity of fuel, oil, coolant, and air conditioning. Passenger cars are further subdivided as follows:
Passenger cars – mini (PC/Mi) (1,500-1,999 lbs. curb weight)
Passenger cars – light (PC/L) (2,000-2,499 lbs. curb weight)
Passenger cars – compact (PC/C) (2,500-2,999 lbs. curb weight)
Passenger cars – medium (PC/Me) (3,000-3,499 lbs. curb weight)
Passenger cars – heavy (PC/H) (3,500 lbs. and over curb weight.)
Sport utility vehicles (SUV)
Pickup trucks (PU)
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