At first glance, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's new safety rankings might seem like another rating system that will confuse consumers. But automakers should embrace them.
They will help the industry put safer vehicles on the road because the institute's "gold" rating will be coveted and hard to achieve. And the rating will be a super advertising pitch for the nameplates that earn it.
More important, the new system offers a single safety rating for each vehicle rather than NHTSA's complex star system. Buyers will have one less headache: They won't have to decide between a vehicle that protects them in a head-on crash or one that saves them in an intersection collision.
Clarity in the vehicle buying process is important, and clarity about safety is part of that.