Most people have heard about 5-star government ratings for vehicles, especially on TV advertisements for new cars. The 5-star government rating refers to the New Car Assessment Program, or NCAP, which provides the public with vehicle safety information.
As any experienced car accident lawyer in Tampa will tell you, injuries can occur in any type of car, truck, SUV, van, or other vehicle, no matter what the vehicle’s safety rating is. Sometimes a vehicle defect will be the cause of an injury. However, vehicles with a higher rating are statistically safer to drive than lower-rated vehicles. This is an important consideration whenever a person is ready to buy a new vehicle.
Initiated in 1978, the NCAP is part of the U.S. Department of Transportation, under the umbrella of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The NCAP offers relative safety potential for front crash ratings, side crash ratings, and rollover ratings. These ratings are meant to help consumers in their buying decisions. The ratings are presented in a 1- to 5-star system, with 5-star being the highest rating. (Due to limits in budget, the NCAP does not rate rear-impact crashes.)
Not all vehicles are rated by the NCAP. Instead, vehicles are selected based on their sales volume or recent changes in safety design and equipment. Even though not all vehicles are rated by the NCAP, all vehicles sold in the United States must comply with Federal vehicle safety standards.
To calculate the ratings, the NCAP uses adult-sized, crash-rating dummies. Instruments measure the force of impact on each dummy’s head, neck, chest, pelvis, legs, and feet. The 5-star system rates the chance of a serious head or chest injury to the driver and front-seat passenger. For example, a 5-star rated vehicle for front-impact crashes means the driver or front seat passenger in that vehicle would have a 10 percent or less chance of sustaining a serious injury during a front-end crash.
Anyone who wishes to learn the 5-star government rating of a vehicle can visit www.safercar.gov. For more information about how a car accident lawyer in Tampa may be able to help you recover losses from serious injuries during any type of vehicle accident, please call or e-mail Clark and Martino, P.A.