Tesla earns its first award from the IIHS.
Tesla has made serious claims about the Model 3's safety level in the past. Most notably after getting a 5-star rating with the NHTSA Tesla claimed "... NHTSA's tests also show that it has the lowest probability of injury of all cars the safety agency has ever tested." Following that, the NHTSA promptly pointed out that a 5-star safety rating is a 5-star safety rating, and they make no distinctions such as Tesla claimed.
Tesla has only previously tested the Model S with the non-profit Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) before but didn't do very well. Now though, Tesla can proudly claim the Model 3 is the second electric car to be awarded the hardest safety award out there, an IIHS Top Safety Pick Plus.
One problem Tesla had with the Model S was to do with the IIHS's notoriously difficult to pass small frontal overlap test. Instead of testing the Model S again, which still has no score from the IIHS, Tesla put the Model 3 up to bat and scored a home run with the toughest accolade possible to earn in terms of safety. That makes the Model 3 the second all-electric car to earn the Top Safety Pick Plus award, following Audi's e-Tron. Just like the e-Tron, the Model 3 earned "good" ratings in all categories, which is the highest distinction the IIHS gives out.
There were only two areas the Model 3 suffered. According to the IIHS, pre-June 2018 versions of the car only had "acceptable" rated headlights. The aforementioned overlap crash test wasn't perfect either, with the IIHS saying there's "moderate risk of injury to the left lower leg" of the driver in head-on crashes that overlap with the driver's side of the vehicle. It is worth repeating that the overlap is the most challenging test and the IIHS says the "Model 3's structure held up well."
In a blog post, Tesla says: "The safety of our customers is what matters most, which is why our active safety features and passive safety equipment come standard on all of our cars."