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"Hall of Crashes" may hold the key to safer cars and roads

Surrounded by more than a dozen mangled vehicles with crushed front ends and collapsed sides, David Zuby sees safety.


Test crash cars at IIHS

Surrounded by more than a dozen mangled vehicles with crushed front ends and collapsed sides, David Zuby sees safety.

“We’re trying to look at ways to prevent crashes,” said Zuby, Chief Research Officer at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). “And given that we will never be able to prevent all crashes, make sure that the crashes that do occur, don’t result in serious injuries or fatalities.”

Zuby spoke to WUSA9's Eric Flack as they toured the IIHS display hall. The mangled cars are inside the IIHS main research facility in Ruckersville, Va., located about 17 miles from Charlottesville, Va.

According to Zuby, IIHS is a nonprofit organization made up of insurance companies trying to identify solutions to problems caused by car crashes nationwide.

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“We don’t have any reason to saddle anybody with unreasonable regulations,” Zuby said. “But we do think it’s unnecessary for people to suffer serious injuries and death as a result of a car crash.”

“And we think that there are things that can be done, reasonable things that can be done, to prevent those consequences.”

The vehicles on display at IIHS were most recently crash tested. Even some of the data from the crash tests have not yet been published.

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Zuby said IIHS typically runs two full-scale crash tests every week. IIHS buys the cars directly from local dealers.

“The automaker that sends cars to that dealership has no idea which car we are going to take away for testing,” Zuby said.

“We don’t think there is any possibility of auto makers making special strong cars that they sneak into our testing programs.”

IIHS research helps lead to the design of safer cars and roads, said Zuby.

“The result of this research leads to fewer people having serious injuries and fewer people dying in car crashes that occur outside,” he said.

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