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Photo of Joshua Nielsen
Photo of Joshua Nielsen
Photo of Joshua Nielsen

Report advocates change to NHTSA’s car safety rating system

On Behalf of | Feb 12, 2020 | car accidents

North Carolina residents may check to see what a vehicle’s safety rating is before buying. This five-star safety rating system, developed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in the 1990s, can certainly be helpful, but there is a widely felt need for updates to make it more accurate. A report from October 2019 has expressed this need.

According to the report, the quantity of crash testing that goes into determining the safety rating is minimal when compared to other countries. Europe in general performs four times as many crash tests as the U.S. does before rating vehicle safety. The federal government is also lagging behind Asia and Latin America.

Crash tests could do with more procedures, and the ratings could be expanded to cover emerging vehicle safety technology like pedestrian detection. The NHTSA has promised to address these needs. It has promised to design new crash test dummies, too, but these changes may not come anytime soon without the funding and political will.

Drivers want to hear about how vehicles fare in the real world, too, which is why some experts suggest making the data from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System more understandable. Though free to access, the data tends to be used only by people like researchers, insurers and academics.

Even the safest vehicles cannot necessarily prevent car accidents when the other driver is being careless. Victims may file a claim to seek compensation, but North Carolina law requires that plaintiffs be not even 1% at fault for a crash; otherwise, they cannot recover damages. To see if their case holds up to this strict rule, victims may seek a legal evaluation. They may have the lawyer negotiate on their behalf for a fair settlement out of court.