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IIHC rates the safety of full-size sedans including Tesla Model S

Pennsylvania residents may be aware that Tesla CEO Elon Musk has referred to his company's Model S luxury sedan as the safest car ever made, but testers from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety may not agree with him. The IIHS is a nonprofit organization that receives funding from the auto sector to conduct accident reconstructions and safety tests, and they recently rated six full-size sedans. The Toyota Avalon, Mercedes-Benz E-Class and Lincoln Continental all received the institute's highest marks for crashworthiness, but the Tesla Model S did not.

Tesla's luxury electric car struggled with what is known as the small overlap front test. This test simulates an accident in which the front driver's side corner of a vehicle strikes an object such as a tree or telephone pole. The Tesla performed poorly in this test because its seat belts were not strong enough to hold the crash test dummy securely in place, according to IIHS testers.

The Ford Taurus and Chevrolet Impala also had problems with this test. While the seat belts fitted to the Chevrolet performed well, the car was criticized by the IIHS for not properly protecting the crash test dummy's head. The Taurus protected the dummy's head but left its leg exposed. The IIHS conducts five different types of crash reenactments, including rollover and side-impact reconstructions. The data is used by automakers to modify their designs and improve their safety systems.

Personal injury attorneys who have represented individuals catastrophically injured in car accidents will likely be strong supporters of automobile safety testing. Automobile accident victims are often left permanently disabled or with injuries that require months or years of treatment, and attorneys may seek medical advice before determining damages in litigation filed on their behalf. Speaking with medical experts and specialists could give attorneys a better understanding of the long-term treatment their clients will likely need and its probable cost.

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