NHTSA to Create a New Rating for Older Occupants

In order to keep up with new technologies and to better protect older drivers and passengers, auto-safety regulators are planning to modify the rating system for new cars sold in the US. Among the changes being considered, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said it plans to create a "silver" rating system to help better protect those older occupants. This new system will also consider rear-seat passengers and pedestrians, as well as look into new testing procedures for electric vehicles. "It can't be a static notion. We always have to look at ways we can improve the margin of safety," said NHTSA Administrator David Strickland to reporters after a recent press conference. The "silver" car rating system may give higher scores to vehicles that have inflatable seatbelts, or other technologies that help to protect against drivers hitting the wrong pedal accidentally when at low speeds. As of now, cars that feature advanced safety features that alert the driver of dangerous conditions or stop certain accidents from happening don’t factor into five-star rating scores. Yesterday, we reported on a new system from Honda called City-Brake that is designed to prevent exactly that kind of accident from occurring.
"In 2013, we plan to conduct focus group testing to determine if consumers would like alternative methods of having advanced technology information communicated and if ratings of advanced technologies, rather than the current approach of recommending advanced technologies, are preferred," said the Federal Register notice. Source: Automotive News