NHTSA Plans to Add New Safety Rating image

The NHTSA asked people what they think about the possible changes which it plans to make to its ratings program.

Until now, automakers that wanted to reach a high score on the government’s five-star safety program had to work on safety measures that would protect passengers during a crash. Now they might also find solutions to keep their customers out of accidents, not only protect them during a crash. The ones to benefit from this change would be supplier selling the equipment necessary for protecting vehicle passengers, such as video cameras and radars.

Some automakers have already begun to add crash-avoidance features to attract safety-minded consumers. Although many vehicles are fitted with lane-keeping assist and automatic emergency braking, there is no federal rating system to show which cars would be the best at keeping drivers out of accidents.

Several years ago the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety requested automakers to fit their vehicles with electronic stability control in order to qualify for its Top Safety Pick honors. The group plans to begin testing automatic braking systems and forward-collision warning.

“The technology that you need to predict a possible crash and take some steps against it is becoming more readily available,” said David Zuby, chief research officer at IIHS, which gets funding from car insurance companies.