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Report calls NHTSA's 5-star safety rating system outdated

In October 2019, a report was released by a member of the Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety that concludes that the current 5-star rating system used to determine vehicle safety is outdated. Pennsylvania residents should know that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration created this system in the 1990s from an earlier crash testing program called the New Car Assessment Program.

Ironically, the report was written by an individual who led the way in the development of the New Car Assessment Program. The author states that the U.S. is falling behind Europe, Asia and Latin America in the thoroughness of its crash testing. The report shows that cars are tested as much as four times more in Europe than in America.

The NHTSA, for its part, promised that it would expand its crash testing to include vehicle safety features like pedestrian detection. In addition, it said it would make its crash dummies represent drivers and passengers more accurately. Yet neither promise has been fulfilled.

The report only addresses crash testing. However, some say there is a greater need to show drivers how vehicles operate in the real world. Data from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System may be made more accessible to this end. Though it is free, it can be understood only by an elite few.

FARS data is crucial because it explains why motor vehicle collisions come about. There are numerous unsafe and negligent actions that drivers can engage in that can lead to a wreck, such as drowsy, drunk and distracted driving. Occupants of other vehicles who have been injured in a crash that was caused by the negligence of another motorist might want to have a lawyer's assistance when seeking compensation for their medical expenses and other losses.

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