Why 5-Star Crash Test Ratings May Not Be as Safe as You Believe

Is your vehicle safe?If you have recently shopped for a vehicle, you may have also paid close attention to crash test ratings. Crash test ratings are exactly what the name implies; a measure of how well vehicles perform during car accidents and how effectively occupants are protected. To receive the top tier rating, known as the ‘5-star crash test rating’ vehicles must meet certain crash test benchmarks set by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

As it turns out, 5-star crash test ratings may not be the best measure of safety. A recent article published by CBS News discussed how 99 percent of 2016 models achieved 4 or 5-star ratings. According to the Center for Auto Safety expert interviewed in the article, vehicles can have similar ratings, but different types of risks. Some vehicles may meet certain benchmarks to obtain the 5-star rating, but still not compare as well to other vehicles.

The article lists the Ford Fusion and Acura TLX. Both have 5-star safety ratings, but Fusion owners are more likely to suffer serious injuries from a side impact. The crux of the problem is that it is difficult for consumers to compare the effectiveness of certain benchmarks when choosing vehicles.

Vehicle Safety Ratings Do Not Account for All Types of Risks

Vehicles with 5-star safety ratings can still have other issues that benchmarks do not address. Seatback failures, which occur when front seats snap and fly backwards into backseat passengers, are a prime example. Even though crash test data is used to determine a vehicle’s safety rating, it may not account for certain types of risks. Only recently has NHTSA adopted the use of ‘backseat’ crash test dummies.

This blog should not deter a person from buying vehicles with 5-star ratings, but it should invite a desire for more research to make the safest choice possible.

The Lafayette personal injury attorneys at Galloway Jefcoat can offer assistance to people and families hurt by negligent auto manufacturers.


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