In 1978, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) issued its 5-Star Safety Ratings—also known as the New Car Assessment Program. This rating system set the bar for safety standards in the auto industry by crash testing new vehicles and ranking them based on performance and safety features. This ranking provided consumers with information to help them choose a safe vehicle for their family.
The NHTSA Updates Ranking System
The initial rating system ranked new vehicles on their performance in frontal, side, and rollover crash tests, assigned a rating of 1 to 5 stars, and offered recommendations for advanced technology features. The new and improved 5-Star Safety Ratings system, announced in December 2015 and expected to be implemented by Model year 2019, will go further and provide the following updates:
- Advanced crash-avoidance and mitigation technologies assessment
- Pedestrian protections
- Additional crash testing
- Improvements to currently used tests
- More human-like crash test dummies
- Half-star increments for vehicle ratings
- Features that allow the NHTSA to update the program more quickly in response to new safety technologies
Having the NHTSA place a greater emphasis on advanced safety technologies that can help drivers avoid crashes is beneficial for all motorists.
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