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The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety recently evaluated four cars and two small SUVs, finding that front and side protection is improving but protection for rearend crashes lags.

Now it’s the norm for vehicles to earn good ratings in the frontal test, and performance in the side test is rapidly improving,” Lund says. “But protection against neck injury in rear-end crashes still needs a lot of work. Front and side crashes usually are more serious, but rear impacts are more common and the neck injuries that result can be debilitating. This is the most common injury reported in motor vehicle crashes.

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