Some 3,000 people lose their lives every month on U.S. roadways. NHTSA’s New Car Assessment...

Some 3,000 people lose their lives every month on U.S. roadways. NHTSA’s New Car Assessment Program is designed to save lives by evaluating, testing, and assigning a safety rating to vehicles.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has proposed several important safety updates to its New Car Assessment Program (NCAP) that range from better testing procedures to encouraging the utilization of additional advanced driver assistance technologies.

NCAP is a 5-Star Safety Ratings program and the government’s premier consumer information tool for evaluating vehicle safety. The program tests vehicle performance in various crash scenarios and provides an objective rating on a five-star scale to educate consumers about the vehicle’s safety performance.

Approximately 3,000 people die every month on the nation’s roadways and the new changes in the NCAP program are intended to help save lives by ensuring people have the information they need when purchasing a vehicle.

The updates NHTSA is currently proposing for NCAP run the gamut. For starters, the agency is recommending four new driver-assistance technologies. Specifically, these include lane-keeping support, pedestrian automatic emergency braking, blind spot detection and blind spot intervention. Noteworthy, this is the first time NCAP includes technology recommendations for road users outside the vehicle, like pedestrians.

NHTSA is also seeking to strengthen the current testing procedures and performance criteria for the driver-assistance technologies already included in NCAP.

Two other goals are to establish a 10-year roadmap for future NCAP updates and to identify ways to develop a meaningful ratings system for driver-assistance technologies.

NHTSA is also considering the addition of emerging vehicle technologies related to driver distraction, alcohol detection, seat belt interlocks, intelligent speed assist, driver monitoring systems and rear seat child reminder assist. Finally, the agency is discussing ways to provide a crash avoidance rating on the window sticker — a Monroney label — on new and used vehicles.

The public is invited to comment on the proposed improvements for NCAP.

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