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NHTSA shaking up its New Car Assessment Program

NHTSA shaking up its New Car Assessment Program

The US NHTSA, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, is modernizing its New Car Assessment Program. It has announced a range of changes across the board to keep up with innovation and technology. It’s an essential review, designed to ensure the organization stays relevant in an ever-changing auto market.

The NHTSA has traditionally lagged well behind the automotive industry in terms of adapting to change. It has form for delaying new testing and having to play catchup with how modern manufacturing works and the various technologies newer cars include. This revision is designed to remain current.

The organization has said it will completely update its testing procedures, add new technology to improve results, use new crash test dummies with improved sensors, update its vehicle labelling requirements and put even more emphasis on vehicle safety with a particular focus on pedestrian and cyclist safety.

"Our program has been a tremendous success and has saved many lives, but far too many American families still lose loved ones every year, and we firmly believe that vehicles can and should be even safer in the future," said NHTSA acting administrator James Owens.

Safety ratings for new cars

Vehicle safety ratings are a significant motivator for choosing one model or manufacturer over another. Safety ratings have gradually taken over from entrenched loyalties to particular brands or the desire for a certain marque, engine size or technology.

Like reviews for products, the safety rating is something almost every buyer will ask about or perform their own research for. Along with the IIHS, the NHTSA  seeks to deliver up-to-date measures on just how safe a car really is. The European NCAP organization is the gold standard for safety testing and NHTSA wants to compete on a level playing field with the Europeans.

While great news for consumers, this could spell trouble for some automakers. Rumours have it that the NHTSA is adding a new side impact test and a small angle oblique crash test to the mix. Given how automakers had to scramble to keep up with small overlap testing, this could cause a lot of consternation in the industry!

We end up with safer vehicles but automakers have a lot of work to do and a lot of redesigning to ensure their models comply. Some automakers are still struggling to ace the new headlight standard and that was introduced ages ago!

The NHTSA say they are still in the planning stage and will be offering consultation during 2020.

Categories: Car News