Federal regulators today proposed overhauling the government’s five-star vehicle safety ratings to add scores for crash avoidance technology and pedestrian protection and to incorporate a new test that measures performance in a frontal offset crash.
The new system, which would allow vehicles to be scored in half-star increments for the first time, would be used on cars and trucks starting with the 2019 model year. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said it plans to collect public comments and issue a final decision by the end of 2016.
“NHTSA’s 5-Star Safety Ratings have set the bar on safety since it began in 1978, and today we are raising that bar,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said in a statement. “The changes provide more and better information to new-vehicle shoppers that will help accelerate the technology innovations that save lives.”
The changes would likely compel automakers to offer more cars and light trucks with features such as automatic emergency braking, blind-spot detection, lane-departure warning and pedestrian detection as standard equipment. Regulators would develop minimum performance criteria and rate vehicles based on how they stack up to that, giving only partial credit to vehicles that make the technology optional.