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DOT Proposes Update to the NHTSA's Car Rating System

The Department of Transportation (DOT) has proposed several changes to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s 5-Star Safety Rating system applied to new vehicles. Car buyers will now be provided with even more information about the safety features of new cars, as the rating system will now use more human-like crash test dummies, adding another crash test, evaluating crash-avoidance technologies, and testing pedestrian safety. If approved, the DOT hopes that these changes will help buyers make safer vehicle selections and prompt car manufacturers to continuously push to make their cars safer for consumers, saving lives in the process.

The existing five star rating scale has been in place since 1978 and has not seen a major update like this since its inception. Often seen on the window stickers of cars, the New Car Assessment Program creates a one-through-five star rating that evaluates the protective qualities of a car in frontal, side-impact, and rollover crashes.

The new system would now implement the following changes:

  • Evaluation of protection of pedestrians from pelvic, leg, and head injuries
  • The use of half-star increments in the rating scale
  • A new front-angled crash test
  • Assessment of how well anti-crash technology helps drivers avoid accidents
  • High-tech dummies that display more accurate information about the effects of a crash

The new rating scale would be seen displayed on new 2019 model year vehicles alongside an accompanying consumer awareness effort. For more information on these proposed changes, visit the NHTSA’s website here.

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