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NHTSA upgrades new car assessment program

The United States Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recently announced plans to revamp its New Car Assessment Program (NCAP) in 2020. This will help ensure the continued safety of drivers, passengers, pedestrians, and cyclists by adapting to and evaluating the latest technology manufacturers are putting in vehicles, particularly crash avoidance technology, electric vehicles and hybrids, as well as self-driving vehicles.

“NCAP is celebrating its 40-year anniversary, and we’re proud that it continues to encourage automakers to invest in safety,” said NHTSA Acting Administrator James Owens. “NHTSA’s Government 5-Star Safety Ratings Program has been replicated around the world, and for good reason: thanks in large measure to NCAP, new vehicles today are safer than ever.”

Indeed, the NHTSA should be proud of the work done in the NCAP, having saved the lives of millions of potential victims.

The agency began this process in 2018 with a plan that called for public comments to help identify areas in need of improvement. It then prioritized those responses by starting with those that had the most significant potential benefits for safety.

The changes include

NCAP has retooled and upgraded in the following areas:

  • New test procedures
  • New technologies
  • Updates of vehicle labeling
  • Updates to crash-test dummies
  • Ongoing research to ensure that NCAP meets the consumers' needs

The NHTSA will then seek comment on upgrades when it publishes a Federal Register Notice in 2020.

New technology leads to new issues

The remarkable changes in the technology going into vehicle design and safety will likely mean there will be hiccups and misfires. This means that new car owners can still face disputes that fall under the state and federal Lemon laws. Those with questions regarding their new vehicle may wish to speak with an attorney who has experience with these types of disputes.

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