The 2012 500 was named a Top Safety Pick by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety because it posted high marks in all aspects of IIHS’ battery of tests, which are generally regarded as more stringent than those conducted by the federal government. The top rating from the IIHS applies only to models built after July because earlier models had weaker seat structures that could put front-seat occupants at greater risk.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the federal agency that conducts the government’s crash tests, has not tested the 500.
Although the 500 scored well in IIHS’ crash tests, it is tiny compared with most vehicles on the road and will tend to suffer greater damage in a collision with a larger vehicle, such as an SUV or pickup. IIHS data show that the average death rate for all passenger vehicles is 48 per “million registered vehicle years.” But for two-door minicars like the 500, it is 70, and for four-door minicars it’s 82. It will take a few years of real-world statistics for the 500 to show up in IIHS data.
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