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.
The future of the automobile technology is still brighter, but the headlights remain dim.
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.  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."  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 +
Kia Forte (sedan only)
] Large luxury cars
BMW 5 Series
Mercedes-Benz E-Class (sedan only)
Hyundai Santa Fe
Hyundai Santa Fe Sport
Mid-size luxury SUVs
Mer cedes-Benz GLC
Top Safety Pick
H Yundai Ioniq Hybrid
Hyundai Elantra GT
Toyota Prius Prime
Medium Cars ]
Alfa Romeo Giulia
BMW 3 series (sedan only)
] Mitsubishi Outlander
Luxury mid-size SUV
Follow USA TODAY journalist Nathan Bomey on Twitter @ NathanBomey . 
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