NHTSA Seeks to Update Five-Star Safety Ratings

According to a press release from the
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the U.S. Department of Transportation has proposed major changes to NHTSA’s five-star safety ratings for new vehicles. In response to its proposal, the NHTSA will collect public comments on the proposed changes for the next 60 days and issue a final decision as to the proposed changes by the end of the year 2016. If the changes occur as proposed, these standards could replace current standards for Model Year 2019 vehicles.

Current Five-Star Safety Ratings

NHTSA’s Five-Star Safety Ratings, which is also known as the New Car Assessment Program, has been in place in some form since 1978. In order to establish safety ratings for new vehicles, the program crash-tests new vehicles that come on to the market each year, which allows them to assess how well they protect occupants when struck in the front, back, or sides, or when involved in rollover crashes. The results of these tests determine the number of stars that is assigned to each new vehicle. The vehicle rating is published online and placed on the window stickers of new cars. The more stars that are assigned to a vehicle, the safer the vehicle.

Proposed Changes to Current Five-Star Safety Ratings

There are a number of different hi-tech changes that are planned with respect to the current Five-Star Safety Ratings. Among the proposed changes are new tests that measure how safe vehicles are in an angled frontal crash and how well pedestrians are protected when they are struck by a vehicle. New crash dummies that are more like humans will be used in all crash testing, which will provide new and improved data about crash effects on a human body. The program will assess crash-avoidance technologies that give drivers the best chance to avoid or minimize the severity of crashes. Finally, the new program will provide for half-star increment ratings in order for consumers to have a more precise measure of a new vehicle’s safety.

Recommended Technologies for New Car Buyers

The NHTSA currently recommends that consumers purchase vehicles equipped with the latest in technological safety advances, including Rearview Video Systems, Forward Collision Warning, and Lane Departure Warning Technologies. Beginning with Model Year 2018, the NHTSA also will recommend that consumers purchase vehicles with Automatic Emergency Braking technology. The proposed updates to the safety standards also will assess the presence and performance of Frontal Pedestrian Automatic Emergency Braking and Rear Automatic Braking systems. The program will measure the performance of Crash Imminent Braking (CIB) and/or Dynamic Brake Support (DBS), which can prevent rear-end crashes, as well as Lane Departure Warning and Blind Spot Detection systems. Finally, new standards are proposed to evaluate lower-beam headlights, semi-automatic headlamp beam switching, and amber rear turn signal lamps to improve driving-related visibility.

Your Denver DUI Attorney is Here to Help

Despite the huge technological strides and advances that carmakers have made over the years in terms of occupant safety, errors in judgment by human drivers still occur that result in serious injuries and fatalities. When alcohol or drugs are involved, however, there is also the potential for criminal charges for drivers. If you find yourself in such a situation, your first phone call should be to Tiftickjian Law Firm, P.C., where you will find experienced Colorado DUI lawyers to advise you about your rights, your options, and the potential penalties in your particular case.