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Crash test dummies at work: Videos take viewers behind the scenes at the IIHS crash test lab

crash test dummies (select to view enlarged photo)

ARLINGTON, VA--July 2, 2013: New web videos from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety offer an insider's look at the Institute's crash test facility in Ruckersville, Va. In "Inside IIHS," engineers at the IIHS Vehicle Research Center explain crash test programs and highlight some of the equipment they use in their research. The videos include, "Crash test dummies at work," "Frontal offset testing," "Measuring roof strength," "The crash propulsion system," "Rating children's booster seats" and "Side testing."

In the latest video, engineers put truck underride guards to the test. Underride guards are steel bars that hang from the backs of semitrailers to keep smaller vehicles from sliding underneath in a crash. When they don't work, the consequences can be deadly.

"Inside IIHS: Understanding underride" explains that IIHS embarked on this program after researchers found that underride crashes continued to kill people in passenger vehicles despite big improvements in crash protection. That's because a passenger vehicle's structure and airbags can't do their job when underride occurs. The video shows how the tests were conducted and explains the results, which demonstrated that most trailers still need better guards.

The eight videos in the "Inside IIHS" series are available on the IIHS YouTube channel.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety is an independent, nonprofit scientific and educational organization dedicated to reducing the losses — deaths, injuries and property damage — from crashes on the nation's roads.

Tucked in the foothills of central Virginia, the state-of-the-art Vehicle Research Center is where IIHS performs the crash tests that form the basis of its widely consulted vehicle ratings.