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NHTSA car safety rating system needs updating, says report

Nevada residents may be aware that new vehicles come with a crash test safety rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. This 5-star rating system was developed in the 1990s from an earlier program, and vehicles are rated after a series of laboratory crash tests with dummies. While the system has had a positive impact on the automotive industry, it may need updating in light of recent advances in vehicle technology.

This is the conclusion of a report published in October 2019 by a former leader in NHTSA’s development of a crash testing program. The author says in particular that NHTSA’s crash testing needs to cover vehicle safety features like pedestrian detection. The agency, for its part, has promised that it would add test procedures, rate safety features and even create new crash dummies. But the changes are still forthcoming.

The report says that crash testing in the U.S. is simply not sufficient when compared to the steps being taken in Europe, Asia and Latin America. Europe, for example, tests its vehicles four times more before rating their safety. Of course, crash test results, no matter how comprehensive, are only one of many factors in buying a vehicle. Drivers need to hear about on-the-road experiences with a given vehicle, which is why the Fatality Analysis Reporting System is so important.

Victims of car collisions may not suffer as severely thanks to their vehicle, but still, they may be left with injuries that call for compensation from the other side. Filing a third-party insurance claim can be difficult on one’s own, so victims may want to see a lawyer before moving forward. A lawyer may determine how much one might receive and then negotiate for that amount. If an out-of-court settlement cannot be achieved, victims may litigate.


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