Members Visit Vehicle Crash Test Facility

On October 4, 2012, seven members traveled to Ruckersville, VA to visit and tour the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). The three hour trip took the guys to the rural community in Greene County, where they found the 22,000 square-foot crash hall of the IIHS's Vehicle Research Center. In the lobby of the facility are two 1989 Chrysler LeBarons that were involved in a front-end collision in March 1990 on a rural two-lane road in Culpeper. The LeBarons and that crash made national history; this was the first recorded collision in history where both vehicles had airbags that deployed. The significant visual statement that these two vehicles make as soon as you walk in the door is remarkable. From their website, the facility boasts:

"IIHS's Vehicle Research Center (VRC) is a world-class center for research and testing. Except for the facilities of auto companies, few places in the world are equipped for the same range of tests."

The guys learned that any of the vehicle crash tests seen on popular automobile manufacturers websites or television commercials, are conducted in the very crash hall that they were standing in. Not only did the tour include seeing vehicles that had already been crash tested, but also concluded with a live crash test of a 2010 Chevrolet Malibu.

The facility and its staff perform a range of tests to include: frontal crash, side-impact crash, roof crush strength, and child safety seat testing. The tour and information the guys received is a different perspective on the response to and handling of automobile collisions, that comprise approximately 24-percent of our annual calls-for-service.

For more information and to see safety information about your vehicle, visit the IIHS website at To read the article about the 1990 crash involving the Chrysler LeBarons, click here.

Devin Basye | General

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