Report: Major changes coming for NHTSA’s vehicle safety rating system

The U.S. DOT has proposed making significant changes to the NHTSA’s safety rating system to improve vehicle safety and reduce the number of car crashes.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports there were more than 607 traffic-related deaths across Mississippi in 2014 alone. During that same year, many more people sustained serious injuries in auto accidents. Motor vehicle collisions occur, despite measures including safety testing and the development of safety technologies. In an effort to reduce the number of car crashes that occur each year, and the resulting injuries, the U.S. Department of Transportation has proposed making a number of change to the NHTSA's vehicle safety rating system.

Changing the system

The NHTSA's current system primarily gauges how vehicles fair when they are involved in collisions. Based on this assessment, automobiles receive a single overall score of between one and five stars. Those vehicles deemed to be the safest are awarded five-star ratings.

Under the U.S. DOT's proposed changes, the safety rating system will also evaluate how well automobiles avoid crashes and pedestrian safety. According the USA Today, the new system would use a multifaceted scorecard and would include half star increments. The hope is that these changes will push auto makers to produce vehicles with better crash avoidance and protection capabilities. This would help to cut down on the number of motor vehicle accidents, as well as limit the potential effects on passengers.

New crash test dummies

During vehicle collision testing, crash test dummies are used to evaluate how the occupants of automobiles might be affected by an accident. The proposed changes to the safety rating system includes the implementation of new units. These dummies have improved sensors that will help vehicle manufactures and safety regulators to better predict the injuries people could suffer if they are involved in a crash.

Updated crash tests

Also included in the proposed changes are new and updated collision tests. According to the NHTSA, a frontal oblique test will be added to the crash test battery. This test will assess how vehicle occupants are protected in front angled car accidents. Further, improvements will be made to the current full frontal barrier crash test. The hope is that these new and updated tests will push auto makers to develop safety improvements and to include them as standard features on their vehicles.

Consulting with an attorney

When people in Mississippi, and elsewhere, are involved in motor vehicle collisions, they may sustain serious injuries with potentially devastating consequences. Due to their injuries, they may require medical treatment, which might carry unexpected costs. Additionally, many who are injured in auto accidents have to take time away from work to recover. Working with an attorney will help those who have experienced such situations to understand their rights and options for seeking financial compensation.