Inside Look: Side-Impact Crash Tests

By: Venton D. Blandin
By: Venton D. Blandin

Inside the Ruckersville Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, engineers work daily on improving the safety of drivers across the country. Built in 1992, its main objective is vehicle research. It does this through a series of tests ranging from side and frontal impact to seatbelt restraints.

Though the tests at the compound are not the governing factor for auto-makers, they are held in high regard because they are thorough. Most auto-makers comply with the tests, but what are they like?

CBS19 / ABC16 News was able to witness the side-impact test on the new Beetle from Volkswagen. Engineers set up the new Beetle complete with paint covered dummies to mark injured areas, and a barrier to act as another car. In the test, the other car went just 31 miles an hour, and still caused major damage that would have caused bad injuries to a driver.

With the car's damage and possible injuries to an actual driver, the new Beetle from Volkswagen received a "poor" rating from the IIHS.

This is just one of many cars the institute rates. Officials say they're sure the folks in Detroit will be listening.

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