NHTSA Implementing Upgraded 5-Star Vehicle Safety Ratings System

Amy Tokic
by Amy Tokic
nhtsa implementing upgraded 5 star vehicle safety ratings system

Drivers will feel safer driving their 2011 models, thanks to the new crash tests that are now being implemented by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

These new crash test features, which were released to the public a few weeks back, boast enhanced 5-Star Safety Ratings System for new vehicles. Also just released were the safety ratings for the first model year 2011 vehicles tested under the program. Now included in the new ratings system are side pole crash testing and crash prevention-technologies. These tests also mark the first time female crash test dummies are to be used in crash scenarios.

Just like the old testing system, vehicles are rated from 1 to 5 stars (1 star being the lowest and 5 stars the highest). Under the old guidelines, lots of vehicles got 5 stars, but not so with the new system, as these standards are much stricter. This also means that not all previously rated 5-star vehicles will remain at 5 stars.

This new 5-Star Safety Ratings System evaluates the safety of passenger cars, SUVs, vans and pickup trucks, and they will be tested in three broad (frontal crash, side crash, and rollover resistance). Starting with the 2011 model year, the NHTSA will rate 24 passenger cars, 20 sport utility vehicles, two vans and nine pickups under the new ratings system.

“We want consumers to embrace these new safety technologies as a way to make vehicles safer,” said National Highway Traffic Safety Administrator David Strickland. “We believe electronic stability control, lane departure warning, and forward collision warning offer significant safety benefits and consumers should consider them when buying a new car.”

The addition of an Overall Vehicle Score is one of the most significant changes to the ratings program. This score combines the results of a frontal crash test, side crash tests and rollover resistance tests and compares those results to the average risk of injury and potential for vehicle rollover of other vehicles.

[Source: National Highway Traffic Safety]

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