NEW YORK (CBS) – There is some surprising and worrying new information on car safety that was released on Tuesday.

You may not be as secure in your vehicle as initially thought, in part because safety tests have never simulated a common and deadly kind of crash, until now.

In the past, safety tests have not paid attention to the type of crash that kills roughly a quarter of those who die  in car accidents.

Of the 11 cars tested, only three earned a earned “good” or “acceptable” ratings in this new crash test.

For the first time in 17 years, a new type of frontal crash-test has been conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and it has exposed a dangerous vulnerability which is cause for concern for Canadian insurance quotes.

“We still have 10,000 deaths in frontal crashes each year, and we estimate that about 20 to 25 percent of those deaths occur in small-overlap crashes,” Insurance Institute for Highway Safety President Adrian Lund said.

These so-called “small-overlap” crashes, take place when the side of a car clips an obstruction and the heavy engine block does not absorb much of the blow.

“Most of the automakers are not building their safety cages to account for this kind of crash,” Lund said.

Only the Acura TL and Volvo S-60 received a “good” overall rating while the Infinity G was rated “acceptable.”

The remaining eight cars were graded either “marginal” or “poor.”

Jack Otter, executive editor for CBS MoneyWatch, said he’s surprised that these luxury automakers hadn’t built cars better able to withstand front-corner crashes.

“You know the way I look at it, over the years, cars have gotten much, much safer. And sure, 10 years from now there may be some new tests that will reveal some vulnerability and those cars will get safer. So, I don’t think we should worry that something new has been found. I think we should be glad that progress is being made,” Otter said.

CBS News reached out to all the automakers tested.

Those who replied stood by their safety record and some said they’d incorporate this knowledge into designs moving forward.

However, Mercedes questioned the testing protocol altogether.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety said it would like to see all automakers start designing vehicles that better protect people in these crashes.

In the short term, that likely means heavier, less fuel-efficient cars.

“I think that there will be some increased costs for the consumer. But in the long run, I think these costs are going to be pretty minimal,” Lund said.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety said they tested luxury cars because that category is usually the one to get safety innovations first.


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