Are you buying a new car and currently in the market browsing through options? Have you carefully thought of what car you should have? Did it ever cross your mind to consider the safety rating too? Well, you definitely should! According to the Association for Safe International Road Travel, in America, over 37,000 people die in road crashes each year. Did that finding convince you to take a second look?
An Unbiased Safety Rating
For most of you, there is no doubt that safety is one top consideration in buying a car. Some people forget that this should be a major consideration though. In either case, an unbiased safety rating should be accessible to everyone so that potential car buyers can easily compare among vehicles. Luckily, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has the answer. They have this database of 5-Star Safety Ratings that provides safety ratings to consumers so they can compare vehicles when shopping for a new car. The program also encourages manufacturers to voluntarily design safer vehicles.
Who are the guys at NHTSA? How did the organization start? The Highway Safety Act of 1970 is the reason why the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration exists today. The NHTSA’s focus is on motor vehicle and highway safety research that aims to prevent crashes and, subsequently, their attendant costs. They initiated their 5-Star Safety Ratings Program in 1978 to measure the level of increased safety for vehicle occupants in frontal crashes. They then added side crash rating results in 1997 model year vehicles and rollover assessments in 2001 models. Other organizations do test crash vehicles too, but only NHTSA rates rollover resistance, in addition to frontal and side crashworthiness.
More Stars Equal Safer Cars
The NHTSA’s New Car Assessment Program (NCAP) created the 5-Star Safety Ratings Program to provide consumers with information about the crash protection and rollover safety of new vehicles beyond what is required by Federal law. One star is the lowest rating; five stars is the highest. More stars equal safer cars. Models made from 1990 to 2010 were assessed in terms of front crash, side crash, and rollover resistance ratings. On the other hand, starting with 2011 models, NHTSA introduced tougher tests and rigorous new 5-Star Safety Ratings. These new additions have provided more information about vehicle safety and crash avoidance technologies though. Also, the new 5-Star Safety Ratings feature an Overall Rating Score to make it easy to compare newer vehicles.
In the SaferCar.gov website, you can search for crashworthiness and rollover safety by model, class and manufacturer, and compare safety ratings with ease. Do note that, because of the addition of more stringent tests, ratings for 2011 and newer vehicles should not be compared to ratings for 1990-2010 models. Remember that you guys should only compare overall vehicle score and frontal crash ratings to other vehicles of similar size and weight too. These ratings are also posted on the Monroney labels that are required to be displayed on all new vehicles.