Concerns over the increasing amount of car accidents and traffic fatalities on U.S. highways has motivated The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to implement a major overhaul of current vehicle crash test regulations.
On Tuesday, NHTSA safety regulators announced the agency’s plans to update the current regulations, saying the changes were prompted by a need for stricter standards regarding crash impact performance, crash avoidance and pedestrian safety.
According to NHTSA research data, pedestrian accidents account for nearly 14 percent of all highway fatalities or 4,800 deaths per year. In 2012, rear-end collisions accounted for 1,705 deaths and 547,000 injuries on U.S. roadways.
The NHTSA hopes its new safety regulations will prevent many of such fatal accidents from occurring.
New Regulations Require Crash Avoidance Technology
Under NHTSA’s new guidelines known as the New Car Assessment Program automakers will be required to install crash avoidance technology in all new vehicles in order to achieve the highest possible safety rating of five-stars.
The NHTSA defines crash avoidance technology as any advanced technological feature which helps promote safety by lessening the chances of a fatal crash occurring.
Such technology includes front-end collision warnings, blind-spot detection, lane drift warnings, automatic rear braking and automatic pedestrian emergency braking.
New Rating Systems Tougher Standards
By current safety standards, most vehicles receive four or five star ratings without being equipped with all available safety measures, something that will no longer be possible under the new safety guidelines.
In fact, vehicles currently equipped with all available safety technology would only be able to achieve a three-star safety rating under the new, tougher rating system.
To determine a vehicles new safety rating, the NHTSA will subject the vehicles to two new crash tests, including a front-end collision test and a new pedestrian-vehicle collision test.
The NHTSA will also add two new, technologically-advanced crash test dummies to their safety tests. The new test dummies are designed to be more human-like which allows them to display a wider array of potential injuries or crash-related fatalities.
How each vehicle performs in the new crash tests will determine the vehicles’ new one-to-five-star crash rating. Certain vehicles will be eligible to receive “half star” ratings, and some vehicles can receive a higher rating for advanced technological capabilities that are not yet standard on all vehicles.
The NHTSA’s new safety ratings are scheduled to take effect for vehicles manufactured in 2019.
Car accidents can cause devastating injuries, property damage, and death. If you or someone you love has been the unfortunate victim of a car accident, call the car accident lawyers at the law firm of O’Connor, Acciani & Levy today. Our injury attorneys will fight to ensure you receive the justice and compensation you deserve.