NHTSA Announces Changes to 5-Star Vehicle Safety Ratings Program

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is committed to reducing the risks for motorists on U.S. roadways. The agency also provides safety ratings for vehicles and performs crash tests to determine the degree of protection afforded by these cars, trucks and SUVs during accidents. On December 8, 2015, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DoT) announced major changes to the NHTSA 5-Star Safety Ratings program that may provide consumers with even more information when purchasing a new or used vehicle.

While retaining the services of a qualified Friendswood personal injury attorney is vital for victims of serious automobile accidents, opting for the safest cars on the market may allow drivers to avoid crashes and collisions before they occur.

High-Tech Additions to Testing Procedures

The 5-Star Safety Ratings program is well known within the automotive industry thanks in part to its public awareness campaigns. The crash test dummies used to evaluate vehicle performance in front and side collisions and rollover accidents are expected to see an upgrade that will allow these devices to mimic the human body more closely. Other changes include the following:

  • The addition of a frontal oblique collision test that can provide added information about vehicle performance in these types of crashes
  • Enhanced evaluation capabilities for rear-seat passengers in barrier crash testing
  • Consideration of advanced safety technologies that include crash avoidance, collision mitigation and automatic braking
  • Recommendations for safety equipment on labels provided by the NHTSA
  • Moving from a simple five-star system to one that integrates half-star ratings, allowing consumers to compare vehicles more accurately
  • Increased focus on pedestrian safety outcomes when struck by vehicles under assessment

These upgrades will allow the 5-Star Safety Ratings program to remain relevant and helpful for consumers now and in the future.

New Technologies Critical to Driver Safety

The addition of recommendations from the NHTSA and the DoT regarding the most effective safety equipment for new and used vehicles that bear the 5-Star Safety Ratings label will likely increase demand for and availability of key features that include the following:

  • Adaptive cruise control systems can provide automatic braking and speed reductions when required by traffic conditions or obstacles in the road ahead. By taking some of the potential for human error out of the equation, these systems can save lives and prevent auto accidents. Emergency brake assistance can perform some of the same tasks to keep motorists safer.
  • Modern rollover mitigation and prevention systems not only take action to protect drivers and passengers by tightening seat belts and allowing roll bars to extend. They can also brake automatically to prevent rollovers from happening in the first place.
  • Blind-spot camera systems can prevent tragic accidents when backing up or changing lanes.
  • Alerts for drowsy or distracted drivers can prevent crashes caused by lack of focus on the road.

These systems include lane departure warnings and other alarm systems designed specifically to identify drivers who fall asleep at the wheel. These systems are currently available in the automotive marketplace and can provide added protection for drivers. Selecting a vehicle that incorporates some or all of these features can be a solid investment in future safety for you and your family. When accidents do occur, making a call to an experienced and established Friendswood car accident lawyer can ensure that your legal rights are protected and that you can negotiate on an even playing field with the big insurance companies. Your Friendswood injury lawyer can go toe-to-toe with insurance adjusters and attorneys for the other parties involved, allowing you to enjoy greater peace of mind throughout the claims and settlement process. By working with these dedicated professionals, you can ensure the highest possible compensation for your injuries and losses after a serious automobile accident.