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Federal Crash Tests Fail to Account for Newer Technology

A car after a federal crash test.

Purchasing a vehicle is a big decision and one that should not be taken lightly. Aside from your home, it is likely your biggest asset. But more importantly, it is a vehicle in which you spend a lot of time and your safety is imperative. Over the years millions of drivers and passengers have been injured and killed due to car crashes. That’s why the federal government implemented crash tests and the five-star rating system through the New Car Assessment Program in the 1970s. 

Basic vs. Newer Safety Technology

While many look to these crash tests for determining vehicle safety, these tests have failed to change along with the technology that is now becoming standard. These tests continue to examine basic safety features such as seatbelts and airbags, while newer features such as auto-braking, lane departure warning, rear cameras, and blind-spot detectors have yet to be adequately incorporated. 

The National Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA) publishes tests that are inclusive of these newer safety features, while the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) is among those groups continuing to evaluate these features.

Manipulating the Test

One of the biggest issues when it comes to these government crash tests is that once auto manufacturers understand how it works, they often build cars that can manipulate it. Vehicles that may receive 4- or 5-stars may not be as safe when actually driven day-to-day on the road. With a large number of vehicles receiving four- and five-stars, safety groups including Consumer Reports believe that the test is not as difficult or comprehensive as it should be.

Advocates Hope to Improve Federal Crash Tests

Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety have asked the federal government to improve crash tests and crash dummies as well as pedestrian and bicyclist safety.

With various types of crash tests (i.e. front, rear, side), there are specific dummies built and used for each one. Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety are asking that the frontal crash dummy be upgraded to a model soon read to use, known as THOR (Test Device for Human Occupancy Restraint).

Although the NHTSA has said that it plans to implement major upgrades for public comment over the next year, advocates are not getting excited quite yet; similar promises were made and not followed up on back in 2015. In the NHTSA’s defense, they have notably moved at a slower rate in an effort to avoid legal challenges. The good news is that the largest U.S. car industry trade group, the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, has stated that it plans on working with the NHTSA.

The Attorneys at Blischak Law Can Help Those Who Have Been Injured in a Car Accident

At Blischak Law, our personal injury attorneys have years of experience working with victims of auto accidents and negotiating with insurance companies. You should never have to pay the price for the negligence or recklessness of another. To learn more or to schedule a free consultation, contact us today!

Posted in: Car Accidents