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U.S. to Overhaul Crash Ratings System with Advanced Technology

Categorized as Auto Accidents

The Department of Transportation will be overhauling the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) five-star crash ratings system, according to a recent press release. The changes will include crash-avoidance technology, additional crash tests using more sophisticated dummies, and pedestrian safety standards. The changes are expected to go into effect by 2019.

The proposed changes would encourage automakers to include advanced crash-avoidance technologies, such as forward collision detection, blind-spot detection, rear automatic braking, pedestrian detection systems, lower beam head lighting, lane departure warning and automatic emergency braking systems, as standard features on new cars.

A major concern among safety regulators is pedestrian fatalities. Although overall traffic fatalities have declined over the past decade, the number of pedestrians and bicyclists killed by cars has actually increased. Pedestrian deaths account for 14 percent of all traffic fatalities each year.

In addition to the inclusion of advanced technologies, cars and trucks will now undergo improved collision tests with more sophisticated dummies. The new crash test dummies will be able to simulate injuries better than the old models.

The NHTSA’s crash rating system was first introduced in 1978 with a simple pass/fail crash test. It was changed to a five-star rating in 1994, and has since expanded to include additional tests and safety feature standards. The last update was in 2007 when cars were rated for side-impact collisions.

The rating system is not mandatory for automakers, but getting a four or five star rating is highly desirable as a sales aid. Consumers often look for the NHTSA’s rating when deciding to make a purchase.

The new rating systems will also allow for half-star increments, to give purchasers a better safety comparison among the wide range of automobiles on the market.

If you or a loved one has been injured in an auto accident, you may want to consult with an experienced car accident lawyer. The attorneys at Peterson & Associates, P.C.™ offer a free consultation and can advise you of your legal options.