Many Pennsylvania residents will only purchase vehicles that have received four or five stars from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s rating system. This system, which is based on the results of various crash tests, has had a positive impact on the automotive industry ever since it was developed in the 1990s. There is no doubt the system has helped to save lives. Still, there are ways that it can be improved.
In October 2018, a former leader in the development of the NHTSA’s crash testing program released a report saying that the U.S. is lagging behind Europe, Asia and Latin America when it comes to the quantity and quality of its crash tests. Europe does four times as many crash tests as the U.S., for instance. And the NHTSA is not testing the effectiveness of newer safety technology like pedestrian detection systems.
The NHTSA has promised to add new ratings for such technology as well as new procedures in its crash tests. It also intends to make crash dummies that better represent drivers and passengers. Yet these changes cannot be realized without funding and political will.
More accurate crash test results may help potential car buyers, but analysts say that this should be supplemented by real-world data. For this reason, they also say drivers should also have greater access to the Fatality Analysis Reporting System.
Someone who has been involved in an auto accident may have been spared from serious injuries if their vehicle rated high in terms of safety. In such a case, they may be able to recover all the damages they are entitled to through their own insurance company. In cases of serious injury or disability, though, victims may file a third-party insurance claim. It may be wise to hire a lawyer since negotiating a settlement with an insurance company can be stressful.