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New Crash Safety Ratings Will Raise Bar for Auto Accident Avoidance

The U.S. Department of Transportation recently proposed a major change to the five-star crash safety ratings implemented by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The new ratings, expected to go into effect in 2019, will add advanced crash avoidance technology, increased emphasis on pedestrian safety, and improved collision testing.

The NHTSA first introduced its crash ratings in 1978, and it has gone through several changes since. The five-star rating system was introduced in 1994 to give consumers a way to compare vehicles. The information is intended to provide people with more information about a car's safety beyond what is required by federal law.

The current ratings are based on a vehicle's performance in three collision tests that mimic common head-on and side-impact collisions. The new ratings system will add a fourth collision test which measures oblique frontal collision, or crashes that occur at an angle. These types of accidents are common at intersections.

In addition to the new collision test, the dummies have been upgraded to simulate human movement and response in an accident. With improved sensor capability, they can more accurately measure the likelihood of specific injuries occurring.

The collision tests are only part of the new rating systems. There will be additional tests that measure how a pedestrian will fare if struck by the vehicle, as well as requirements for advanced crash avoidance systems.

The crash avoidance systems include frontal collision detection, blind-spot detection, automatic emergency braking systems, amber rear turn signals, rear automatic braking and more. These systems have been introduced in a number of newer cars, but there are no universal standards or guidelines for how these should implemented.

Even with the safest vehicle, car accidents still happen. Over 94 percent of fatal auto accidents were caused by human behavior.

If you or a loved one has been injured by another driver's negligence, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact the experienced car accident lawyers at Simien & Simien, LLC for a free consultation. Our injury lawyers will help you get the justice you deserve.

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