Vehicle Safety Ratings Change: NHTSA Plans to Expand Safety Categories
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has posted a notice on its website that it plans to update its New Car Assessment Program (NCAP) to make its ratings more relevant to present day realities. It will create two new safety ratings; one for families and another for older drivers. The overall purpose of the NCAP system is to provide new car buyers with information they can use to compare safety features and performance between vehicles.
A proposed “silver” rating would seek to assess the relative safety of vehicles for older drivers. Such a move would reflect the reality of the massive aging baby boomer population, which the NHTSA is calling the “silver tsunami.” According to the AARP, as many as 16% of drivers are 65 or older, and that number is only going to go up from there. According to the NHTSA, older drivers are more likely to be injured in a crash, and they have the highest death rate in serious accidents. Therefore, having information that makes them feel safer in a new vehicle could be very helpful.
The proposed “family” rating would assess how effectively a vehicle protects those passengers who occupy rear seats, especially children. This new rating fulfills a desire they’ve seen in their surveys, in which consumers with families want better information regarding the safety of rear seats in vehicles, especially SUVs and minivans, as well as the crashworthiness of the vehicles themselves.
According to their website announcement, the NHTSA intends to add both ratings to the existing NCAP five-star safety ratings, which was created in 1978. According to NHTSA, The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers is already on board to help work on the ratings. The NCAP system overhaul could take as much as three to four years.
A system that allows all consumers, regardless of their status, access to all of a vehicle’s relevant safety features is long overdue. Such features could result in the saving of many lives and a slow and steady decline of traffic fatalities and injuries over the coming years. If you have been injured or lost a loved as the result of a defective vehicle or vehicle that was not crashworthy, call the Automotive Defect Injury Lawyer at Hill Law Firm today.