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John Bisnar
John Bisnar
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Department of Transportation "Beefing Up" 5-Star Rating

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How about a real crash worthiness rating system?

The U.S. Department of Transportation will be beefing up its requirements for the “five-star” safety rating (highest government rating), much coveted by automakers, according to an announcement made Monday by U. S. Secretary of Transportation, Mary Peters at the International Auto Show in Detroit.

The department’s proposals are outlined in the New Car Assessment Program Suggested Approaches for Future Program Enhancements Report. Peters told reporters in a press conference that the new proposals call for “strengthening our current frontal, side and rollover tests.”

“This includes beefing up our frontal tests to not just include head and chest injuries, but for the first time, rating vehicles for the high incidence of upper leg injuries.”

In addition to these requirements, the government will also mandate a new side impact test, Peters said. “Everyone knows the old adage ‘wrapping the car around the telephone pole,'” she said. “It is an adage because it happens. So, we want to recreate this kind of crash to show how side airbags can protect the driver’s head during this type of crash.”

The Department of Transportation is also inviting the public to Washington D. C. on March 7 to provide input and ask questions about these new proposals, which may be viewed at www.safecar.gov.

The issue of the so-called “five-star rating” is an interesting one, to put it mildly. The government’s highest crash rating, “five-star”, should be reserved for the elite of the elite in vehicle crash worthiness. A five-star rating should mean that it’s the best protection money can buy. However, the rating system is so watered down that the truly well designed and safer vehicles are grouped with vehicles far inferior in safety in the current rating system.

Is the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration simply catering to the automakers, not wanting to offend anyone, not really giving us a true analysis of the comparative crash worthiness of various vehicles? If the government wants to “beef up” the requirements for its “five-star” rating, the highest rating should only be award to the elite of the elite, not the mediocre.

Whether consumers trust these ratings or not, this is the only information available to those who want to compare vehicle crash worthiness. Car buyers deserve a comprehensive, meaningful rating system instead of one that caters to automakers interest of providing the minimum protection to acquire the highest rating.

If you have been a victim of a defective product or an auto accident, call me. We have the knowledge and expertise it takes to bring negligent automakers to justice.

In my opinion, Volvo is the safest car on the road, especially for the money. The entire management team of our firm drive Mercedes automobiles.