Tuesday the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration rolled out its new system for rating the safety of vehicles in car accidents. The new system rates cars with a single number of stars, from 1 to 5, similar to the old system, but the NHTSA felt a new system was necessary because too many cars had achieved the highest ratings under the old system. According to Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, “Through new tests, better crash data, and higher standards, we are making the safety ratings tougher and more meaningful for consumers.”

The newer standard includes several criteria not included in previous standards. For the first time, cars will be rated using the inclusion of side pole tests and considering the inclusion of car accident prevention technologies. In addition, the ratings include tests conducted using woman-proportioned dummies, a crucial innovation, since women are more likely than men to suffer whiplash and other soft-tissue injuries in some car accidents.

Because the ratings are tougher than they had been, many previously 5-star-rated cars are now rated lower, reflecting potential weaknesses in crash safety, some of which might be considered motor vehicle safety defects. Read more about the NHTSA’s Safety Ratings here.

If you have been hurt in a car accident and your injuries were caused or worsened by a safety defect in the car’s design or manufacture, the personal injury lawyers of Robert W. Kerpsack, CO, LPA can help. Please contact us today for a free initial consultation.