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Tesla Model S Fails to Earn Place on IIHS Safest Vehicles List

Mississippi residents may know that the Tesla Model S has been described by the electric car manufacturer and its forward-thinking CEO Elon Musk as the safest vehicle ever to be put on sale in the United States. The Model S is fitted with a dizzying array of the latest passive and active safety systems, but it did not impress testers from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety during a series of accident simulations. Tesla was one of three full-sized cars to be put through a grueling series of tests by the nonprofit group, and it was one of three that failed to earn a place on its coveted list of America's safest vehicles.

The Tesla Model S, the Ford Taurus, and the Chevrolet Impala all had difficulty with what IIHS crash testers call the small overlap front test. This test simulates a collision between the front driver's side corner of a vehicle and an object such as a tree or road sign. The IIHS says that the seat belts fitted to the Tesla were not strong enough to hold the crash test dummy in place during the test. While the restraints in the Ford and Chevrolet were more robust according to the IIHS, testers say that their occupants could still suffer serious injuries in this type of crash.

The three full-sized sedans that passed the small overlap front test were the Toyota Avalon, the Lincoln Continental, and the Mercedes-Benz E-Class. The IIHS says that all of these cars have been added to its list of America's safest vehicles. Tesla did not immediately respond to news of the IIHS crash test results.

The photographs were taken and videos recorded during automobile crash tests can be useful to attorneys representing car accident victims. Negligent motorists often deny that they were driving recklessly immediately before crashing, but their speeds may be revealed by comparing their damaged vehicles with images taken following crash tests conducted by organizations like the IIHS.