NHTSA five-star safety ratings-01

A proposal has been submitted by federal regulators in the US to revamp the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) five-star vehicle safety ratings. The proposal calls for the inclusion of scores relating to crash avoidance technology and pedestrian protection as well as a new test to measure the performance of frontal offset crash, Automotive News reports.

Said proposal suggests that vehicles be allowed to obtain half-star increments for cars and trucks, beginning with the 2019 model year. If the proposal passes, it could possibly see features such as automatic emergency braking, blind spot detection, lane departure warning and pedestrian detection systems as standard.

Some of the changes proposed include a front oblique crash test designed to simulate specific accidents that contribute to large number of deaths and serious injuries. Full frontal crash tests using a fifth percentile female dummy to measure safety of rear passengers and children in particular is also considered.

The third addition calls for more human-like crash test dummies to measure the possibility of injuries to the chest, abdomen, lower spine and even the brain. Next, a pedestrian five-star rating that includes the availability and performance of frontal pedestrian automatic braking and rear automatic braking systems will also be added.

NHTSA five-star safety ratings history-01

The fifth proposed change includes a rating for crash avoidance and advanced technology features. These include forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking and automatic headlight beam switching. Lastly, is an updated criteria to gauge a vehicle’s resistance to rollovers.

Anthony Foxx, US transportation secretary said, “the NHTSA’s 5-Star Safety Ratings have set the bar on safety since it began in 1978, and today we are raising that bar.” He added, “the changes provide more and better information to new vehicle shoppers that will help accelerate the technology innovations that save lives.”

An increase in highway fatalities in the US (up by 8.1% in the first half of 2015) is said to have triggered the call for an enhanced safety rating system. The NHTSA is planning to engage with the public by collecting comments. Following that, a final decision will be issued by end 2016.