(WCSC-SC) The number of cars this year with a good overall safety rating has increased dramatically from last year. In fact 39 more cars received a top safety pick award this year than the 27 last year. That's a total of 66 Top Pick Safety award winners for 2011. The awards went to 40 cars, 25 SUV's and a minivan.
The Top Safety Pick award recognizes vehicles that do the best job protecting people in front, side, rollover and rear crashes based on good ratings by the institute.
Insurance Institutes Highway Safety President Adrian Lund say's this is excellent news for the auto industry. "I think for consumers its good news, because there's lots of vehicles to choose from. They're in every market class and every manufacturer offers at least one top safety pick" said Lund.
The Insurance Institute added a new safety test in order for vehicles to win the safety award.
They required vehicles to withstand a roof crush. To earn a good rating for roof strength, the roof must withstand the force of four times the vehicles weight before reaching five inches of crush.
It's a new safety standard that the Insurance Institute Highway Safety President says was a no brainer.
"It's not rocket science to build a strong roof, so manufacturers have responded and now we have 66 that meet that requirement this year" said Lund.
Front end crashes are tested at 40 mph, while side impact crashes are tested on how the vehicle handles being struck by a barrier at 31 mph. The top safety pick award now covers all four of the common kinds of crashes.
Winners must have available electronic stability control which significantly reduces crash risk.
This year the institute added a new requirement that all cars must have good ratings for roof crush.
2011 top winners included Hyundai/Kia and Volkswagen/Audi each has 9 winners for 2011.
You can find the full list of top safety picks on the institute's website.