A new proposal by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration would establish “significant” updates to the agency’s Five-Star Safety Ratings program for automobiles. According to a press release by the NHTSA, the proposal reflects the Biden Administration’s commitment to improve street safety and reduce traffic violence in the US, including requirements outlined by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.
The proposal would update the NHTSA’s New Car Assessment Program. It includes recommendations that vehicles be manufactured with driver-assist technologies like lane-keeping support, blind spot detection, blind spot intervention, and pedestrian automatic emergency braking; the bolstering of testing procedures and performance criteria for those technologies; the creation of “a 10-year roadmap for future NCAP updates”; a request for comment on ways the agency can develop “a meaningful ratings system for driver-assistance technologies”; the consideration of other emerging technologies, like those involving alcohol detection, seat belt interlocks, driver distraction, and driver monitoring systems; and a discussion of how to “crash avoidance rating on the window sticker” for vehicles, both used and new ones.
In a statement about the proposed updates, Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg said: “There’s a crisis on America’s roadways: 3,000 people die every month, and the numbers have only gotten worse in recent years… These important changes will help save lives on our roadways by ensuring that consumers have the information they need about the latest safety technologies when they buy a new vehicle.”
In another statement, NHTSA Deputy Administrator Steven Cliff said: “NHTSA’s 5-Star Safety Ratings system helps consumers learn more about the safety of new and used vehicles and select the one that’s right for them. The proposed improvements will not only make the program more useful and informative but also keep up with the pace of innovation in vehicle safety… For the first time ever, NCAP includes technology recommendations not only for drivers and passengers but for road users outside the vehicle, like pedestrians.”
As a report by The Drive observed, the NHTSA hopes that its proposals will see wider usage of technologies that can help prevent accidents. The NHTSA has opened a 60-day comment period on its proposals for those who wish to offer feedback.