NHTSA Plans to Revamp Five-Star Safety Rating System

Baltimore car accident lawyers discuss how NHTSA plans to revamp five-star safety rating system.When purchasing a new vehicle, safety is a top priority for most consumers. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) developed its five-star safety rating so that consumers could choose a vehicle with four or five stars and know that they were purchasing a safe car. However, according to Consumer Reports, the rating system is too easy to pass and there are too many vehicles that have scored four or five-star rating. The NHTSA recently announced they would be revamping the program to include new test procedures, updates to vehicle labels, improved crash test dummies, and ideas on how to improve pedestrian and bicycle safety.

According to the executive director of the Consumer Federation of America, these tests are outdated and too many vehicles are getting high ratings. The program was developed nearly 50 years ago to help consumers avoid driving home in a lemon. The current system does not help consumers separate the lemons from the legitimately safe vehicles that have been well-maintained. Automakers use the current rating system as part of their marketing materials so they can prove to consumers that their vehicles are extremely safe. However, they are basing their safety ratings on an outdated system, according to a senior policy analyst at Consumer Reports.

Advanced Crash Test Dummies Needed

 The current crash test dummies used in the federal New Car Assessment Program do not accurately reflect all types of passengers. For example, women and children are not represented in the current dummies used by the NHTSA. As a result, it is more difficult for consumers to determine which vehicles will be most effective at protecting them in the event of an accident. There are dummies that can measure the risk of injury better than those used by the NHTSA, but the agency is not using them.

The NHTSA promised to create separate ratings for crash avoidance technologies and pedestrian safety, as well as tests to improve crash test dummies, but the process of getting the changes to the New Car Assessment Program (NCAP) through the NHTSA’s approval process was very slow. This is because the NHTSA looks to the industry for input. If the NCAP cannot change and keep consumers aware of the latest safety technologies, it will remain out of date, according to Consumer Reports.

According to a statement released by the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, U.S. automakers will be working with the NHTSA when the upgrades to the NCAP are announced in 2020. This will likely provide consumers with valuable information about advanced safety technologies. In addition, a modern ratings program can ensure that breakthroughs, such as automated and connected vehicles, are not held up.

Baltimore Car Accident Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Represent Car Accident Victims

 If you were injured in a car accident involving a vehicle that has safety issues, despite it having a high safety rating, contact the Baltimore car accident lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton at your earliest convenience. We will determine who is responsible for causing the accident and ensure that you receive the maximum financial compensation you deserve for your injuries. To schedule a free consultation, call us today at 800-547-4LAW (4529) or contact us online.

Our offices are located in Baltimore, Columbia, Glen Burnie, and Towson, allowing us to represent car accident victims in Maryland, including those in Anne Arundel County, Baltimore County, Carroll County, Harford County, Howard County, Montgomery County, Maryland’s Western Counties, Prince George’s County, Queen Anne’s County, Southern Maryland, and the Eastern Shore, as well as the communities of Catonsville, Essex, Halethorpe, Middle River, Rosedale, Gwynn Oak, Brooklandville, Dundalk, Pikesville, Nottingham, Windsor Mill, Lutherville, Timonium, Sparrows Point, Ridgewood, and Elkridge.