Fifteen cars and SUVs have earned the highest honors from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety despite the requirements of 2018.

After IIHS decided to require better lights and solid performance In a new crash test to receive the designation "Top Safety Pick Plus", only 12 cars and three sport utility vehicles received the award in the first qualification round of the organization.

47 other vehicles won "Top Safety Pick" Awards. Both lists are likely to grow as more vehicles are evaluated.

IIHS said it has not yet reviewed all the models and may not try all the variations, but will update the classifications during 2018.

"Automakers have really faced the fact that safety is a This is an important component of consumer choice, and they are working hard to meet the criteria, "said outgoing IIHS President Adrian Lund. "They want to be known as security leaders."

Lund said that new vehicles are safer than ever.

Even so, even when automakers make significant safety improvements to new vehicles, more people die on American roads. Deaths from car accidents skyrocketed in the US UU For the second consecutive year in 2016, reaching a maximum of nine years of 37,461 people in 2016, an increase of 5.6%, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Lund said that the improvement of the economy, which has allowed more people to go on the road in search of work and leisure, is a key factor in the upturn. Distracted driving is also a likely factor to explain the increase.

One positive sign, Lund said, is that automakers are rapidly improving headlights amid a growing awareness that vehicles do not illuminate the road sufficiently to keep drivers and pedestrians safe. [19659006] To reflect the need for better headlights in general, IIHS now requires that automobile manufacturers obtain a "good" rating when it comes to their beams to receive the Top Safety Pick Plus designation.

"We are seeing a big change" in the headlights, Lund said. "In previous years, it was really the designers who determined the positioning of the headlights, and now, given that we are actually giving an objective classification of how much light these headlights put on the road, engineers are gaining more decision power." [19659006] In general, Toyota led the industry with 10 vehicles on the Top Safety Pick + or Top Safety Pick lists. Hyundai much smaller was the second with nine models.

Subaru, which is on a hot-selling streak, has all but one of its seven vehicles on the charts.

There is a key warning: The "vast majority" of the models only qualify for the list with optional equipment, said IIHS. Most of the basic models do not include the features that IIHS requires to make the list, including automatic emergency braking.

As usual, IIHS reevaluates vehicle safety throughout the year and sometimes makes adjustments to its classifications to reflect mid-year improvements and new entries.

Here is the complete list:

IIHS Top Safety Pick +

Small cars

Kia Forte (sedan only)
Kia Soul
Subaru Impreza
Subaru WRX

Mid-size cars

Subaru Legacy
Subaru Outback
Toyota Camry

] Large luxury cars

BMW 5 Series
Genesis G80
Genesis G90
Lincoln Continental
Mercedes-Benz E-Class (sedan only)

Medium-sized SUV

Hyundai Santa Fe
Hyundai Santa Fe Sport

Mid-size luxury SUVs

Mer cedes-Benz GLC

Top Safety Pick

Small cars

Chevrolet Volt
H Yundai Ioniq Hybrid
Hyundai Elantra
Hyundai Elantra GT
Mazda 3
Subaru Crosstrek
Toyota Corolla
Toyota Prius
Toyota Prius Prime

Medium Cars ]

Honda Accord
Hyundai Sonata
Kia Optima
Nissan Altima
Nissan Maxima

Mid-size cars

Alfa Romeo Giulia
Audi A3
Audi A4
BMW 3 series (sedan only)
Lexus ES
Lexus IS
Volvo S60
Volvo V60

Big cars

Kia Cadenza
Toyota Avalon

Small SUVs

Honda CR-V
Hyundai Tucson
Kia Sportage
Mazda CX-3
Mazda CX-5
] Mitsubishi Outlander
Nissan Rogue
Subaru Forester
Toyota RAV4

SUV mid-size

Pilot Honda
Kia Sorento
Mazda CX-9
Toyota Highlander

Luxury mid-size SUV

Acura MDX
Acura RDX
Buick Envision
Lexus NX
Lexus RX
Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class
Volvo XC60

Minivans

Chrysler Pacifica
Honda Odyssey

Large Pickup

Honda Ridgeline

Follow USA TODAY journalist Nathan Bomey on Twitter @ NathanBomey . [19659006]

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