The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHSTA) might be revising its five-star crash safety program by adding new tests.
Last year, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) added a “small overlap” test to its crash safety criteria to simulate cars crashing into a pole or a collision with similar surface area. The IIHS is still in the midst of putting cars through the test, which can go toward its new “Top Safety Plus” rating. Now, it looks like NHTSA is going in a similar direction according to administrator David Strickland.
He says NHTSA researchers are studying small overlap crashes as well as oblique crashes in which a vehicle collides with an object at an angle. Should either or both tests be implemented, it will make attaining a five-star rating more difficult. That stands in contrast to the IIHS system where the well-known “Top Safety Pick” carries the same requirements to sit below the new top tier rating.
While the tests aren’t in place yet, Strickland says he thinks automakers are already implementing countermeasures in anticipation. It makes sense considering how similar the IIHS’ small overlap test is. Then again, that might only be true for the small overlap, and not the oblique crash test.
The IIHS began by running a group of luxury cars through its new test last August and most failed. Given that, it will remain to be seen if manufacturers are wise to the new NHTSA tests before they come into play.
[Source: Automotive News]