Automotive safety technology has come a long way since the 1960s and 1970s when the per capita fatality rate was 2-3 times what it is today, but a new study from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) shows that, although improvements have been made in driverside protection in many cars, there is still a ways to go in providing similar levels of protection for front seat passengers.
Part of the reason automotive technology has become safer is that the testing process for car safety has become increasingly thorough, taking into account a wide variety of potential collision scenarios. The IIHS uses a number of different tests to assess safety across cars, including testing the strength of automotive roofs, head restraints, and seats.
The institute also look at two main types of collisions: side crashes (being rammed on the side) and frontal crashes (driving into another car, wall, or object). Within the heading of frontal crashes are two subcategories: moderate overlap crashes where a large portion of the front of the car collides with another object, and small overlap crashes where only the corner of the front of the car hits an object, such as a light pole or tree.