DOT Looks to Update 5-Star Vehicle Rating System with New Tests & New Crash Dummies

DOT Looks to Update 5-Star Vehicle Rating System with New Tests & New Crash Dummies

The 5-Star Vehicle Rating system developed by federal regulators nearly four decades ago may soon be updated to include new tests, new crash dummies and new ratings for crash-avoidance systems, according to officials at the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT).

In fact, the proposed changes, which are focused on modernizing the Rating system, are fairly extensive, and they are expected to “give consumers even better information to help them choose a safe vehicle.” The goal, regulators have pointed out, is to enhance safety choices, encourage carmakers to produce safer vehicles, and, ultimately, to save lives.

Discussing these proposed updates, U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx has stated:

NHTSA’s 5-Star Safety Ratings have set the bar on safety since it began in 1978, and today we are raising that bar…The changes provide more and better information to new-vehicle shoppers that will help accelerate the technology innovations that saves lives.

NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind also expressed support for the proposed changes, commenting that:

NHTSA’s 5-Star Safety Ratings program was the first of its kind… [now] we’re adding to that legacy of global safety leadership, ensuring that American consumers have the best possible information about how to protect themselves and their families, and taking a significant step forward in our efforts to save lives and prevent injuries.

Planned Changes to the Vehicle Rating System

Among the various updates that the DOT has proposed for the 5-Star Vehicle Rating system include (but are not exclusive to):

  • Including evaluations of crash-avoidance systems and pedestrian protections in safety assessments
  • Adding new crash tests, including “a new frontal oblique crash test”
  • Enhancing existing tests, including the “full frontal barrier crash test” to evaluate the impacts on backseat vehicle occupants
  • Relying on half-star increments to better refine safety ratings
  • Adding features that all for dynamic updates to the system to be made “as new safety technologies emerge.”

To see the full proposal regarding these updates, click here.

Currently, the DOT is accepting public comments on its proposal. Regulators have also explained that they will render a final decision regarding the proposed changes by the end of 2016.

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