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NHTSA Announces Upgrades to New Car Assessment Program

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has announced its plan to propose significant updates and upgrades to the New Car Assessment Program (NCAP) in 2020.

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The U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has announced its plan to propose significant updates and upgrades to the New Car Assessment Program (NCAP) in 2020.

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“NCAP is celebrating its 40-year anniversary, and we’re proud that it continues to encourage automakers to invest in safety,” said James Owens, acting administrator of NHTSA. “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.”

NCAP is the government’s premier consumer information program for evaluating vehicle safety performance. The program tests vehicle performance in various crash scenarios and provides an objective rating on a 5-star scale to clearly inform consumers of a vehicle’s safety performance.

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“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 Owens. “That is why NHTSA is working on improving the program to make the 5-Star Safety Ratings Program even more dynamic, and to accelerate NCAP modernization to keep pace with advancements in safety technology. American car buyers want safety, and NHTSA wants to help by creating additional market-based incentives for automakers to continue investing in innovative safety technologies that will save lives and prevent injuries.”

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Drawing, in part, from the comments and feedback received late last year from a public meeting, NHTSA plans to propose major upgrades to NCAP in 2020. These will involve new technologies, new test procedures, updates to vehicle labeling, advancements in crash-test dummies and continued consumer research to ensure NCAP’s products are effectively meeting the public’s needs. NHTSA will also consider new technologies tied to the safety of pedestrians and other vulnerable road users such as cyclists.

NHTSA is working to publish a Federal Register Notice in 2020 that will seek comment on upgrades to NCAP.

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