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U.S. no longer leader in car safety rating systems, says report

Since the 1990s when the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration developed its five-star car safety rating system, there have undoubtedly been improvements in the automotive industry. Automakers have been prompted to build safer vehicles so as to attain a four- or five-star rating from the federal government. However, California residents should know about a report that argues that there is room for improvement in the rating system.

The report, written by a former leader in the NHTSA's crash testing program and published in October 2019, states that the U.S. is lagging behind Europe, Asia and Latin America with regards to its testing. Europe, for instance, performs four times as many crash tests as the U.S. does before rating its vehicles.

The NHTSA has promised new test procedures, ratings for new vehicle safety tech and even new crash dummies that better represent drivers and passengers. Yet the organization has yet to fulfill these promises, partly because of lack of funding.

Some say the report doesn't go far enough in calling for an updating crash testing and safety rating system. Drivers, after all, don't rely entirely on safety ratings when purchasing a car. There have been calls to make the data in the Fatality Analysis Reporting System more accessible to drivers eager to hear how a vehicle fares in the real world.

There have been cases of vehicles themselves being a factor in a crash: Drivers can become distracted by the many features in a car or trust the safety tech so much that they let themselves become inattentive. Those who live through a crash may want to see Costa Mesa auto accident injury lawyers about filing a claim. A successful claim might reimburse victims for things like medical bills, vehicle repairs and pain and suffering.

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