NHTSA Proposing Crash Standard Updates
Changes Reflect Newer Technology, IIHS Influence
Complaining about burdensome government regulations seems to be a favorite pastime of Americans, and there’s no question there are some impositions laid down by Uncle Sam or the state that are not always the most convenient or logical. However, when it comes to the matter of automobile safety, it’s hard to argue that tougher safety standards have been a bad thing. In the U.S., we have both public and private safety tests, one conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and by the insurance industry organization Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). While the IIHS has recently revised its ratings system to take recent technological advancements into account, such as automatic emergency braking and adding a frontal offset test to better replicate real-world crash circumstances, NHTSA has been slightly behind the curve.
However, that will not be the case much longer, with the agency proposing several updates to its New Car Assessment Program safety protocol. Among the proposed changes are for the 5-star rating system to take advanced safety technologies, such as automatic braking, into account as part of the overall vehicle rating, adding pedestrian safety measures as part of the evaluation program, a frontal offset test similar to IIHS, and the use of a more advanced dummy that can more accurately measure and predict injuries from a crash. Finally, the new ratings will include half-star increments to give car buyers a more accurate picture of the vehicle’s safety. If you’re curious, the full 195 pages of proposed changes are available to view here, and the agency is inviting public comment for the next 60 days.
Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration