The National Safety Commission Alerts

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Friday, January 26, 2007

U.S. Government to Improve Vehicle Crash Tests and Five Star Rating Program

Public Meeting Planned in Nation’s Capitol for March 7, 2006

During a recent visit to the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan, U.S. Transportation Secretary Mary E. Peters unveiled the federal government's the New Car Assessment Program (NCAP), which would improve its automobile crash tests and strengthen its five-star vehicle safety rating system.

Vehicles will be subjected to more stringent rollover, frontal and side crash tests under the suggested improvements for the five-star safety-rating program. For the first time, the new proposal could include ratings for crash aversion technologies like electronic stability control, adaptive cruise control and lane departure warning systems, according to Secretary Peters.

"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," Secretary Peters said. "Our proposals not only improve overall vehicle safety, they provide better, more useful information for consumers."

The NCAP proposal, which includes both short and long-term strategies, aims to not only improve overall vehicle safety, but to provide improved and more useful information to help buyers make more informed decisions when they purchase cars, trucks, or SUVs. According to the Secretary, plans have been made to hold a public meeting on March 7 in Washington, D.C., so that U.S. citizens have an opportunity to provide input and ask questions.

NCAP has been the catalyst for encouraging major safety improvements to new car design for almost 30 years. Manufacturers have responded to consumer demand to design passenger vehicles that are safer than ever before. But even with those lofty standards, over 40,000 people still perish in car crashes on U.S. roads each year.

"We can never become complacent about saving the lives of our loved ones and we must be willing to evolve along with the times and technology," said Secretary Peters. "And that's exactly what the recommendations that we release today seek to do."

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration performs annual rollover and crash tests on new cars and trucks and assigns them with a safety rating. Five stars is the top rating. In 2006, 95 percent of new cars were granted the top ratings in crash tests.

Driver education helps increase driving safety awareness and ensures the well being of American drivers. The National Safety Commission recommends the online DMV practice test prep courses at Test Questions and to help you become a safer, more knowledgeable driver.

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