附：13 Models On Insurance Industry's List
Imported models took all spots on the U.S. insurance industry's list of safest vehicles. Winners include four cars, seven SUVs and two minivans.
An industry official said that's mostly because American automakers aren't making cars with electronic stability control, which keeps vehicles stable in emergencies. And the technology is a new requirement in ranking vehicles for safety.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has proposed requiring electronic stability control in all new cars by 2012. But insurance industry officials said that's not soon enough.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety isn't bashful about its reasons for pushing electronic stability control. It said that its studies show up to 10,000 fatal crashes per year could be prevented if every vehicle had the safety feature.
"The idea of tightening the criteria for the award is to encourage more vehicle safety improvements," Institute President Adrian Lund said. "Last year a car could win with an acceptable rating in the rear test instead of the highest rating of good, and ESC wasn't considered. Now it's tougher to win, and some of the 2006 winners don't meet the criteria for this year's award because the manufacturers haven't improved the head restraints from acceptable to good or don't offer ESC."
The cars on the list are all by foreign manufacturers, and ranked highest in protecting people in front, rear and side crash tests based on institute tests during the year.
In particular, the Ford Five Hundred and Mercury Montego, large family cars, are good crash test performers but don't have ESC, even as an option. The midsize Chevrolet Malibu doesn't have ESC either, and its seat/head restraints aren't rated good. These cars won in 2006 but not 2007.
No small cars won this year's award. The four-door Honda Civic won last year, but most 2007 Civics don't have ESC. Those that do don't have seat/head restraints rated good for rear crash protection.
Vehicles eligible to win are current small, midsize, and large car models, plus minivans and small and midsize SUVs.
SUVs weren't eligible to win in 2006 because the Institute hadn't evaluated the side crash-worthiness of many of them. Now more SUVs have been rated, and 2007 winners reflect the safety improvements manufacturers have been making to these vehicles.
"In the past SUVs, especially the smaller ones, weren't good safety choices compared with cars," Lund said. "Many SUVs didn't earn good ratings in our crash tests, and on the road they were more likely than cars to get in serious single-vehicle crashes, including rollovers, because of their higher centers of gravity. Newer SUVs perform better in crash tests and, when equipped with ESC, are much less likely to roll over. All but one of the seven SUVs that win our 2007 'Top Safety Pick' have ESC as standard equipment."
Recent research found that ESC reduces the risk of serious crashes involving both SUVs and cars, the Institute reported. The largest effect is in single-vehicle crashes, which were reduced 40 percent with the addition of ESC. Fatal single-vehicle crashes went down 56 percent, and fatal rollovers of cars and SUVs were reduced by about 80 percent.
Pickups aren't included in this round of awards because the Institute hasn't begun to evaluate their side crash-worthiness.
"Our crash tests cover the most common kinds of real-world collisions," said Lund. "Designating 'Top Safety Pick' winners based on the tests makes it easier for consumers to identify vehicles that afford the best overall protection without sifting through multiple sets of comparative test results."
The Institute's Web site said it rates vehicles good, acceptable, marginal, or poor based on performance in high-speed front and side crash tests plus evaluations of seat/head restraints for protection against neck injuries in rear impacts. The first requirement for a vehicle to become a "Top Safety Pick" is to earn good ratings in all three Institute tests.
Audi A6 (manufactured in Dec. 2006 and later)
Subaru Legacy (equipped with optional electronic stability control)
Mercedes M class
Subaru B9 Tribeca
Subaru Forester (equipped with optional electronic stability control)