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Some large cars fail to achieve safety honors

Some large cars popular among Illinois drivers have received accolades for their high levels of safety, but other high-profile models did not. The Lincoln Continental, Mercedes-Benz E-Class and Toyota Avalon sedans were praised with the Top Safety Pick Plus label by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the auto safety arm of the car insurance industry.

However, the Tesla Model S, Ford Taurus and Chevrolet Impala did not receive the designation noting top marks in safety for drivers. The IIHS carries out crash tests on consumer vehicles, including cars, trucks and SUVs, to determine how they would fare in a real car crash.

All three of the large vehicles that did not receive the designation had trouble with the same test, called the small overlap front test. The purpose of this crash test that was introduced in 2012 is to see how well a car handles a collision with impact on the front driver's side corner. It replicates an accident similar to hitting a telephone pole or related object. In the case of the Tesla Model S, the car didn't have a strong enough seat belt to excel in the test. This meant that a crash test dummy in the driver's seat moved too far during the simulated crash so that its head struck the steering wheel. For the Impala, while the car's structure stayed firm, the dummy's head was somewhat unprotected, and for the Taurus, the dummy's movement was controlled well, but its lower left leg could be exposed to injuries in a real-life crash.

Car safety can be particularly important on the road. An auto accident can lead to devastating injuries. When it can be determined that a crash was caused by the negligence of another driver, an attorney could help an injured victim seek compensation from the at-fault motorist.

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