NHTSA to improve New Car Assessment Program

The agency plans to introduce new test procedures and new technology.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has announced plans to upgrade its New Car Assessment Program.

The agency will propose a range of changes including new technology, different test procedures, updated vehicle-labeling requirements, and new crash-test dummies. Some of the new procedures may be focused on modern safety systems, such as automatic emergency braking for pedestrians and cyclists.
"Our program has been a tremendous success and has saved many lives, but far too many American families still lose loved ones every year, and we firmly believe that vehicles can and should be even safer in the future," said NHTSA acting administrator James Owens.
The NHTSA is notoriously slow to make any changes, whether to regulations or its own internal procedures. The safety regulator has consequently lagged behind Europe's NCAP and the privately-managed Insurance Institute for Highway Safety in keeping up with changes to vehicle technology.
Notably, the NHTSA plans to publish a notice in 2020 seeking comment on potential NCAP changes, suggesting any changes may not roll out until 2021 or later.

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