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Safety Advocates Call for Updated Government Car Crash Tests

December 11th, 2019

We look to the government to inform us of many different things. One such thing is the safety of the vehicles that we drive. But while government crash tests are performed to gauge the safety of every car, the pace at which vehicle safety technology is evolving has made these tests inadequate.

In the 1950s, safety features were not commonplace, contributing to the millions of injuries and fatalities from car crashes annually. In an effort to reduce injuries and deaths from car accidents, the federal government began performing crash tests in the 1970s through the New Car Assessment Program (NCAP).

Prior to advancements in technology, these tests were sufficient at evaluating the safety of a vehicle. Now, however, critics of the test program argue that five-star safety ratings are too easy to achieve based on the outdated testing the government uses.

Easy Manipulation

One of the issues that Consumer Reports and other safety groups complain about is the easy ability for automakers to manipulate the NCAP program, merely constructing their vehicle to pass the test but not always perform safely in real-world situations. Such groups say that the five-star safety ratings are too easy to pass, with far too many vehicles receiving four- and five-star scores.

Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety are asking the federal government to upgrade three things:

  1. Enhance and update crash tests
  2. Establish methods for improving pedestrian and bike safety
  3. Create improved crash test dummies

Since different crash test dummies are designed to test for different types of crashes, one of the biggest proposals that the Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety have is to upgrade the frontal crash dummy. This dummy, referred to as THOR (Test Device for Human Occupancy Restraint) is the product of decades of research and may soon be ready to use.

Changes in 2020

The NHTSA says that it will provide “major upgrades” for public comment in 2020. This is said to include updates to vehicle labeling, new test procedures, ways to improve pedestrian and bicycle safety, and upgrades to crash test dummies. The dummies currently used are inadequate in that they are not representative of all people – especially women and children.

However, in 2015, the NHTSA also made similar promises though it did little to follow up. Since the agency is extremely careful to avoid legal challenges and seeks input from the industry, things tend to be very slow to change.

Henson Fuerst Can Help

If you or a loved one has been injured in an auto vehicle accident due to the negligence or recklessness of another, it can have a profound impact on many aspects of your life. No one should have to pay for the careless mistakes of someone else.

The experienced North Carolina personal injury lawyers at Henson Fuerst can help you to navigate the legal system and fight for the compensation you need. To learn more or to schedule a free consultation, call us at 919-781-1107 today!