January 10, 2007

U.S. government plans to improve vehicle crash test program

Detroit, Michigan – The U.S. federal government will improve its automobile crash tests and strengthen its five-star vehicle safety rating system under a plan unveiled by U.S. Transportation Secretary Mary E. Peters during a visit to the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

Under the improvements suggested for the five-star safety rating program – known as the New Car Assessment Program (NCAP) – vehicles will be subjected to more stringent rollover, frontal and side crash tests. Secretary Peters added that the new proposal could include, for the first time, ratings for crash avoidance technologies like electronic stability control, adaptive cruise control and lane departure warning systems.

“Safety is not a static concept. Our approach to constantly improving vehicle safety can’t be either. Every day, we’re working hard to raise the bar on auto safety,” said Secretary Peters. “Our proposals not only improve overall vehicle safety, they provide better, more useful information for consumers.”

For nearly 30 years, Secretary Peters said, NCAP has been the catalyst for encouraging major safety improvements to new car design. Consumer demand has driven more manufacturers to design passenger vehicles that are safer than ever before. But even with those high standards, she said, more than 40,000 people still lose their lives in car crashes on America’s roads each year.

Each year, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) performs rollover and crash tests on new cars and trucks and assigns them with a safety rating. Five stars is the top rating. Today, 95 percent of new cars received the top ratings in crash tests.

To view the full report, go to www.safercar.gov.

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