Volume 11, Issue 3 - May/June 2009

the latest in safety

AGRSS Board of Directors Visits Insurance Institute for Highway Safety

The board of directors of the Auto Glass Replacement Safety Standards (AGRSS) Council Inc. visited the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) in March to tour the Vehicle Research Center, located in Ruckersville, Va., and to meet with officials to observe a crash test of a 2009 Ford Focus coupe. The IIHS is an independent, nonprofit, organization dedicated to reducing the deaths, injuries and property damage on the nation’s highways via research and analysis.

Joseph Nolan, senior vice president for the vehicle research center operations, led the tour and explained the work that the organization does, as it is funded entirely by various insurers across the country.

“We get the claims data for roughly 80 percent of insurers,” he said. He explained that the group uses that information to analyze how it can reduce the costs of claims across the nation. The crash testing conducted at IIHS allows insurers to refine their actuarial processes—the processes used to figure out policy premiums, levels of risk, etc.

“There’s a race to fine-tune the actuarial,” he said. 

Likewise, IIHS is working to refine its process for crash-testing. For example, the organization has designed an “offset crash,” which it hopes is a close simulation of most vehicle crashes—rather than a straight head-on crash into a concrete wall.

“It’s much more representative,” Nolan said.

IIHS does other simulations as well, such as side-impact crash simulations—and in these instances, uses two vehicles at a time for the crash-testing. IIHS purchases all of its vehicles from local dealerships. One thing it has learned from side-impact testing is that there’s more to protection than just side impact airbags.

“[In an accident] Momentum needs to be conserved,” Nolan said. “ …. You want to push these guys as cocoons.”

Nolan pointed out that if the entire body moves together as a cocoon, there’s less chance of severe injury or fatality.

Roof crush is yet another area in which IIHS has done testing, and the group continually evaluates the automotive industry for the latest safety mechanisms to watch.

“We’ve got guys who monitor the industry,” Nolan said.

This was one of the many reasons the AGRSS directors were in attendance at the facility—to take the time to meet with Nolan and his associate, Sean O’Malley, to explain the importance of a windshield to a vehicle’s safety structure. 

Nolan noted, though, that the areas IIHS focuses on tend to deal with societal changes.

“On the vehicle side, we focus on serious injuries and fatalities,” he said. “It kind of depends on the hot-button societal issues.”

For example, IIHS currently is surveying customers who’ve purchased vehicles with crash avoidance systems to see whether they find them helpful.

“This stuff’s going to be pouring out and we’re trying to evaluate it,” Nolan said.

Outgoing AGRSS Council president Cindy Ketcherside took the lead in informing Nolan and O’Malley about the AGRSS Standard and the industry at large. Other board members also spoke.

The board also held its annual meeting in Charlottesville, Va., on the day before the crash test (see related story at left).

AGRSS Board of Directors Elects New Officers

AGRSS Board of Directors Elects New OfficersThe Auto Glass Replacement Safety Standards Council (AGRSS) Inc.’s board of directors elected new officers during its annual meeting on March 10 in Charlottesville, Va.

Debra Levy, publisher of AGRR magazine, was elected president of the board; David Rohlfing, president and chief executive officer of Glass America, was elected vice president; Jean Pero of Mygrant Glass was elected treasurer; and Joel Timmons, founder and president of Profitable Glass Solutions, was elected secretary.

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