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Federal Auto Safety Body Revises New Car Rating System

New Car safety

Knowing that you’re choosing the safest possible car for yourself and your family isn’t always easy. Consumers may struggle to find an objective source of safety information that relies on the most recent research and technology to determine car safety, without being colored by commercial interests. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, a division of the U.S. Department of Transportation, has long been assigning safety ratings to new passenger vehicles sold in the US, and has recently announced updates to its safety rating system and recommendations that should take into account the latest advances in passenger vehicle safety technology to reduce the risk of serious injury in an automobile accident.

The federally-operated National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has been rating the safety of new cars each season since 1978. Its patented New Car Assessment Program with its 5-star rating system has long served as a guide to consumers looking for the best protection on the road. The new rating system will evaluate crashworthiness with a new test known as the front oblique crash test, catching oncoming cars at an angle. The NHTSA will also use a more advanced crash test dummy, as well as smaller dummies which more accurately represent possible injuries to children in a crash. For the first time, the tests will also evaluate the possible injuries to pedestrians in a crash.

Importantly, the NHTSA will issue a rating of crash-avoidance technology in each new car it tests. Generally, when the NHTSA revises its safety ratings upwards, car manufacturers begin to implement new safety features on their cars in anticipation of the new ratings. Buyers should thus expect to see more technologically-advanced safety features in the next couple years. Finally, the 5-star rating will now include half-star ratings, to offer a more nuanced look at how safe each vehicle is in comparison to others. The new rating criteria were recently subjected to public comment and should be finalized by the end of 2016. The NHTSA expects to use the revised criteria for its ratings of new cars for model year 2019.

If you or a loved one have been injured in a car accident in New Jersey, contact the talented and seasoned motor vehicle negligence personal injury attorney Andrew R. Jacobs for a free review of your legal claims, at 973-532-9681.

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