IIHS: Federal Safety Policy Roadmap Not Helping Auto Insurance Consumers

Road running through hillsIndustry and government organizations that control the direction of automotive safety research are often too responsive to public pressure, according to a report issued earlier this month by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).

The report says that car maker Toyota’s safety recalls have been an example of the many “sidetracks” that have consumed too much public attention and drawn focus away from other road safety issues that cause more insurance claims and injuries. Higher claim frequency and severity may make it more difficult for a consumer to find affordable auto insurance in certain geographical areas.

In addition, the IIHS says that the public controversy over cell phone use while behind the wheel — a cause that has even attracted celebrity activism from, among others, Oprah Winfrey and the Jonas Brothers — has had a similar effect on other important driving safety issues.

According to the IIHS, issues like vehicle roll protection and an array of safety problems involving semi trucks should be a higher priority for regulators and public interest groups. IIHS senior vice president Anne McCartt said that a requirement for truck speed limiters, for example, “was a good idea four years ago, and it’s arguably an even better idea today amid heightened concern about fuel efficiency.” However, the group does not dispute that both distracted driving and manufacturing defects are also serious issues.

Automotive safety features like speed governors can help motorists avoid collisions, which can in turn help them keep their driving records clean. Consumers with clean driving records may have less difficulty securing affordable car insurance.

About John Pirro
John Pirro is a licensed fire and casualty insurance agent specializing in various aspects of the auto insurance industry. He worked in the auto body repair industry before taking a reporting position at Online Auto Insurance News.

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