Thee U.S. Department of Transportation proposes high-tech changes to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s 5-Star Safety Ratings for new vehicles. The update rates ADAS features for crash avoidance, pedestrian safety, an front angel crash test, new data-centric test dummies, rear passenger safety and the ability to change specifications to keep up with new technology. The public can comment on the changes for two months. NHTSA will look at the comments and make a final decision by the end of 2016. The new ratings are expect to be ready for 2016 Model Year vehicles.
— Anthony Foxx (@SecretaryFoxx) December 8, 2015
The planned changes to the 5-Star Safety Ratings system include:
- A new 5-Star Safety Ratings system, which will, for the first time, encompass assessment of crash-avoidance and advanced technologies as well as pedestrian protection.
- New tests to assess how well vehicles protect pedestrians from head, leg and pelvic injuries that occur when a pedestrian is struck by a vehicle.
- A new frontal oblique crash test that measures how well vehicles protect occupants in an angled frontal crash.
- An improved full frontal barrier crash test to drive safety improvements for rear seat occupants.
- New crash test dummies, including the Test device for Human Occupant Restraint, (THOR) and WorldSID, that will provide vastly improved data on the effects a crash is likely to have on the human body.
- An assessment of additional crash-avoidance and advanced technologies that offer drivers the most potential for avoiding or mitigating crashes.
- Use of half-star increments to provide consumers more discriminating information about vehicle safety performance.
- The ability to dynamically update the program more swiftly as new safety technologies emerge.
The agency plans launch an intense consumer awareness effort to help vehicle shoppers understand how the new ratings can guide their new-car buying decisions, as well as briefings for industry and safety stakeholders.
The news release stated that the “proposed changes will give consumers even better information to help them choose a safe vehicle, and will encourage manufacturers to produce vehicles with better crash protection and new technology innovations that will save lives.
The 5-Star Safety Ratings, also known as the New Car Assessment Program, crash-tests new vehicles every year and currently rates them on how well they protect occupants in frontal, side and rollover crashes. Results from these tests are compiled into a rating of 1 to 5 stars, with more stars indicating a safer car. The vehicle safety ratings appear on window stickers of new cars, and searchable ratings are available on NHTSA’s Safercar.gov website. The current program also includes a checklist of recommended advanced technology features such as rear-visibility cameras, lane departure warning, and forward collision warning.