Understanding Car Safety Ratings

Bucks County accident lawyers encourage clients to research car safety ratings before purchasing.Americans willing to invest in the purchase of a new car typically do a lot of research before choosing the safest and most reliable vehicle available. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) provides a list of motor vehicles that have earned their prestigious Top Safety Pick and Top Safety Pick+ awards while the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) evaluates and mandates vehicle compliance with federal safety regulations. Rigorous testing and evaluations by both agencies help consumers make informed decisions on the vehicles they are purchasing.

NHTSA Testing and Ratings

The NHTSA is a federal agency that tests how well vehicles perform against highway safety regulations. The agency enforces auto manufacturers to comply with federal safety standards, manages recalls of automobiles, and sets federal standards for vehicle efficiency. The NHTSA also manages the New Car Assessment Program (NCAP), which compares the safety of vehicles by class. Small vehicles are compared against other small vehicles, and larger or mid-sized vehicles are compared to others in their class so that the results can be compared fairly. These safety ratings can be seen by the consumer on the price stickers on new cars.

The NHTSA testing on new vehicles includes front, side barrier, and side poll crashes, as well as rollover resistance. The results of these tests are then used to create an average overall score. Five stars are given to vehicles that meet all safety standards, while a one-star rating indicates poor performance.

IIHS Evaluations and Ratings

The IIHS is a non-profit organization that is supported by various insurance companies and insurance organizations. The IIHS aims to reduce highway fatalities and property damage caused by traffic accidents and uses research and data from various insurance companies to evaluate new crash avoidance technology and highway design.

Vehicles are tested on side and roof strength, head restraints, overlap fronts, headlight performance, and front crash prevention systems. Each test receives a Poor, Marginal, Acceptable, Good, Advanced, or Superior rating that is then used to determine whether a vehicle earns a Top Safety Pick or Top Safety Pick+ award.

The IIHS Top Safety Pick and Top Safety Pick+ awards are not given out freely. Cars must earn a rating of Good on all tests, except the passenger side small overlap front test, which can earn an Acceptable level to receive the Top Safety Pick award. In addition to these tests, the vehicle must also earn an Advanced or Superior rating for its front crash prevention and an Acceptable or Good rating on its headlight performance tests. To earn a Top Safety Pick+ award, scores must be in the Good category on all tests and have an Advanced or Superior rating for its front crash prevention system.

The NHTSA and IIHS ratings are well respected by the automaker industry and consumers. Reliable and rigorous testing goes into each careful rating to ensure that car buyers have the most up to date and dependable information to use when purchasing a motor vehicle.

Bucks County Accident Lawyers at Freedman & Lorry, P.C. Advocate for Motor Vehicle Safety

The Bucks County accident lawyers at Freedman & Lorry, P.C. understand the importance of safe and reliable motor vehicles. If you were injured in an automobile accident, call us at 888-999-1962 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation today. Located in Philadelphia, Cherry Hill, New Jersey, and Pinehurst, North Carolina, we serve clients throughout Pennsylvania.