Perhaps you’ve suffered a serious injury in a California car crash even though your vehicle was highly rated for safety. Unfortunately, you’re probably not alone in this regard. The unreliability of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s vehicle safety rating system has been the subject of many reports already.
NHTSA’s rating system is behind the times
One report, published in October 2019, states that NHTSA is straggling behind Europe, Asia and Latin America in the quantity of its crash tests. Crash tests are the basis for the agency’s five-star safety rating system, yet the U.S. does not perform even a quarter of the number of crash tests that Europe does.
Quantity is not the only issue. New vehicle safety features like pedestrian detection do not have their own ratings, so NHTSA is failing to tell car buyers how effective these features are. As a result, cars with a four- or five-star safety rating may not be as safe as one might expect.
Possible improvements lie in the future
NHTSA has continually promised to add new ratings and new crash test procedures. It has also promised to design new crash test dummies to better study how collisions affect drivers and passengers. With sufficient funding and “political will,” the federal agency may one day make good on these promises.
A lawyer for negotiations or litigation
If a vehicle did not protect you as well as its safety rating would have led you to believe, you have the right to seek compensation for your damages. Under California negligence law, victims of car accidents can file a claim for these damages even when partially at fault. You may want a lawyer to handle the complex insurance issues, negotiate for a settlement and take the case to court as a last resort.