Auto companies have made vehicles safer in front crashes, recording top marks for the first time in the latest tests conducted by a leading U.S. insurance group, according to Reuters. Showing a significant improvement in recent years, all nine new or redesigned mid-size 2002 models earned the overall highest rating for managing the impact from a front crash, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) said on May 28. And all but one of the models, a mix of popular cars, received the top rating for protecting the passenger compartment in the tests that rammed the vehicles into a pliable barrier at 40 mph. Light trucks, which include minivans, sport utility vehicles and pickups, also have improved front-crash safety. The redesigned 2002 Ford Explorer scored a "good" rating in front-crash tests after posting only "acceptable" ratings for its 1995-2001 models, according to Reuters.