When considering new vehicle purchases, automobile consumers often turn to the 5-Star Rating Program. However, the high-profile initiative contains certain omissions that may put buyers at risk.
According to the National Transportation Safety Board, the ratings are not accounting for cutting-edge technology, precisely collision avoidance. Chairperson Jennifer Homendy claims that it is reaching the level of “near irrelevance” with the belief that safety is about avoiding crashes, not overall crashworthiness.
A lack of initiative toward motor vehicle safety
March of 2022 saw the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration request comments on alterations to the New Car Assessment Program and identify specific ways to improve the initiative. Yet, glaring missions include life-saving technologies that can prevent collisions recommended for decades yet not part of the rating program.
When the program was introduced in 1979, automakers were provided an incentive to improve the crashworthiness of their cars and trucks, specifically high-profile publicity that comes with the best scores. Yet, to this day and after 25 recommendations going back to1995, no inclusion exists in the rating system, not to mention a lack of window labels adorned on new cars.
Even after a law passed by Congress mandating crash-avoidance technologies and the aforementioned stickers by 2016, the NHTSA has not acted on adding the stickers. In addition, an initiative to have three rated safety technologies in the 5-star program that meet recommendation criteria remains unfinished.
A lack of action when it comes to safety in the form of crash avoidance technology is alarming. The programs should inspire confidence in consumers, not to mention high-profile officials at National Transportation Safety Board. For now, it is “buyer beware.”