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Tonight is a big night for many car manufacturers at the annual What Car? Car of the Year Awards ceremony but one award that many consumers will be looking at is The Safety Award for Britain's safest car.

What Car COTY Safety AwardOriginally created in 2015 and presented by What Car? in conjunction with automotive research centre Thatcham Research, the award is open to cars achieving five Euro NCAP stars in the Euro NCAP crash test rating as well as having an Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) system fitted. All the cars on the shortlist for the Safety Award will be assessed for their Adult Occupant Protection, Safety Assist, and Child Occupant Protection before the decision is made by the judges made up of a panel from Thatcham research as well as an independent panel of safety experts.

It is very fitting that Thatcham Research is involved in the Safety Award as the motor insurers’ automotive research centre, established by the motor insurance industry back in 1969 to contain or reduce the cost of motor insurance claims whilst maintaining safety standards. as a ‘not for profit’ insurer funded research centre. Thatcham Research not only tests vehicle security systems and does a lot of testing work with regards to testing seats for whiplash prevention, but also provides the majority of the data that insurers use to define a car’s insurance grouping, administering  the insurance Group Rating system on behalf of the ABI (Association of British Insurers).

The full list of cars on the shortlist is detailed below, with many of them available to lease at great deals from Nationwide Vehicle Contracts, but that list itself will be narrowed down to three at tonight's ceremony before the winner is announced - and we will have those details available tomorrow, so check back on the blog to find out who was the winner.

Safety in the car and safety OF the car is growing as one of the most important factors when choosing a car, especially with the growth of SUVs and other family-focused vehicles; something that What Car?’s editorial director, Jim Holder, agrees with:

"Safety is one of the key concerns, particularly if the vehicle in question is to be used as the main mode of family transport. "What Car? believes it important that such a key consideration is reflected in our Car of the Year Awards.

"Not only does the Safety Award highlight the incredible, yet often unsung, work manufacturers do, it also allows us to both commend and encourage it."

Matthew Avery, Director of Research at Thatcham Research, backs up this opinion: "The Safety Award is a unique way for consumers to select safer cars and identify the best of the best. Understanding how they are protected inside the car in the event of a crash, and how accidents can actually be avoided in the first place.

"It is this new crash avoidance technology that will help address the growing number of pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists killed and injured on our roads every year. And why from January 2016, Euro NCAP will be assessing cars for their ability to automatically avoid pedestrian crashes."

Details regarding the winner will be posted here tomorrow (Thursday 14th).
Pop back to see who follows the Land Rover Discovery Sport as holder of the What Car? Safety Award.