Crash-testing done by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) gives us a snapshot of how every vehicle currently in production might fare in a collision. For these tests to remain accurate and meaningful, the formula needs to be modernized and revised every now and then. NHTSA plans to initiate one of these updates next year.
- NHTSA has announced that it plans to significantly update and upgrade its New Car Assessment Program (NCAP) in 2020.
- NCAP stands as the government’s premier consumer information resource for evaluating a vehicle’s safety performance.
- The program tests vehicle performance in a host of different crash scenarios and provides an objective rating on a five-star scale to provide insight regarding each model’s crashworthiness.
Getting wise to driver-assistance technology
NHTSA has made incremental changes to its crash-test evaluations in recent years. Many of these have been designed to recognize and evaluate what has become an exciting new frontier in automotive safety: driver-assistance technology.
Over the past couple of years, NHTSA has added automatic emergency braking and forward collision warning to its list of recommended technologies. The agency also recommends lane-departure warning systems and rearview cameras. However, these amenities don’t currently play a part in the agency’s overall five-star rating formula.
Crash-test dummies and more
NHTSA’s forthcoming upgrades will be driven in part by comments and feedback received late last year during a public meeting, and the overhaul is expected to be quite sweeping.
Even crash-test dummies will be upgraded in NHTSA’s evaluation overhaul. (Photo: NHTSA)
It will include the integration of new technologies and new test procedures, and there will also be updates made to the way vehicles are labeled by the agency. The tests will reflect the latest cutting-edge advancements in technology regarding crash-test dummies. Finally, NHTSA’s evaluations will take into account new technologies linked to the safety of cyclists and pedestrians.
WHY THIS MATTERS
Technology changes, and NHTSA’s tests also need to evolve to remain valid and relevant. It’s possible that the upcoming upgrades could reveal new winners and losers on the safety front.