Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood recently announced an enhanced 5-Star vehicle crash rating system that will, for the first time, base its ratings on protection for women, as well as men. DOT’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has been crash testing new vehicles for 30 years to help consumers make informed decisions when purchasing or leasing a new or used vehicle. Auto manufacturers voluntarily participate in the program and now routinely use the star rating in their advertising. Under the prior safety ratings program, crash test dummies used in frontal and side impact tests only represented average-sized males. Among other things, the new system also will utilize adult female crash dummies of different sizes, positioned in either front or rear passenger seats, encouraging safety improvements across a range of occupant sizes and seating positions. As Secretary LaHood said, “More stars equal safer cars. With our upgraded rating system, we’re raising the bar on safety.” For more information, check out www.safercar.gov.
Marlise Streitmatter, Deputy Chief of Staff, U.S. Department of Transportation