The new car assessment program suggested approaches for future program enhancements
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The new car assessment program suggested approaches for future program enhancements

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  • English

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      The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is an integral part of the United States Department of Transportation (DOT) and its mission is to save lives, prevent injuries, and reduce traffic-related health care and other economic costs associated with motor vehicle use and highway travel. To accomplish this, NHTSA collects and analyzes motor vehicle crash data, and develops, promotes, and implements educational programs, vehicle safety standards, research, and enforcement programs. In 1979, NHTSA created the New Car Assessment Program (NCAP) to improve occupant safety by developing and implementing meaningful and timely comparative safety information that encourages manufacturers to voluntarily improve the safety of their vehicles. Since that time, the agency has improved the program by adding rating programs, providing information to consumers in a more user friendly format, and substantially increasing accessibility to the information via the website, The program has strongly influenced manufacturers to build vehicles that consistently achieve high ratings, thereby increasing the safety of vehicles. However, the success of the NCAP requires change if manufacturers are to be continually challenged to make voluntary safety improvements to their vehicles. The opportunities for NCAP to be changed and improved are a result of: changes in the vehicle fleet and resulting crash dynamics; advances in injury criteria and test devices; the development and deployment of vehicle technologies that have the potential to improve safety; and new approaches in the presentation of NCAP ratings information for consumers. The agency plans to continue enhancing its NCAP crashworthiness (those aspects of a vehicle that protect occupants during a crash) and crash avoidance (those aspects of a vehicle that help avoid the crash) activities by challenging manufacturers, and by providing consumers with relevant information to aid them in their new car purchasing decisions. This document describes the opportunities that exist and some approaches to address them.
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