NHTSA's proposed rating system update will favor crash avoidance tech

Automotive technology is changing, and it is time for rating systems to change with it. In a proposal announced today, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is seeking an update to its own five-star rating system for new cars. The updated version will take into consideration measurements gathered by more advanced human-like crash dummies as well as crash-avoidance technology.

The new rating system would go into effect starting with 2019 model year vehicles, and would include ratings for how well a car deals with pedestrian incidents, how it performs in an front-end angled collision, and other things related to safety. Notably, the updated system would prefer crash-avoidance technologies, with the goal being a reduction in the number of crashes.

Assuming this updated rating system goes into effect, it will be the first upgrade since 2011. The NHTSA will look favorably upon use of crash avoidance tech, including blind spot detection, lane departure detection, front collision warnings, automatic emergency braking, front end collision warnings, and more.

That's just the start, though. The agency is encouraging auto makers to pursue even greater technology that will make driving a safer activity. This could include self-driving cars and cars that "talk" to each other, helping prevent crashes by advising each other about intended moves and current status.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx stated today:

Our goal is not just to protect people in the event that an accident occurs. We also want to eliminate crashes altogether. By making it tougher to get a five-star rating, we are effectively creating more of a marketplace for safety-enhancing technologies. Whether these technologies are mandated in the future or not, we think this is market-changing stuff that's going to impact safety for the good.

SOURCE: Detroit News