NHTSA shouldn’t give 5-star safety ratings to vehicles that are dangerous for pedestrians

NHSTA Vehicle Safety Rating

Pedestrian deaths on our roads are at a forty-year high in the United States and larger unsafe cars and trucks contribute significantly to this crisis.

In the United States, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) determines vehicle design and safety standards. Now, for the first time ever, NHTSA has proposed to rate cars based on safety for pedestrians through its New Car Assessment Program (NCAP), its five-star safety rating program advertised to consumers. 

Such a program is sorely needed and long overdue, but it’s imperative to get it right. NHTSA’s current proposal grades safety for pedestrians on a pass/fail and doesn’t incorporate the result into its star rating system. Under the current proposal, a vehicle could receive a failing grade for pedestrian crashworthiness, but still earn a five-star safety rating. This is unacceptable and misrepresents a vehicle as safe when it is not. In addition, the proposal fails to evaluate limited driver visibility, a known safety flaw for larger vehicles, and won’t display pedestrian crashworthiness ratings at the point of sale, where most consumers would see them. These elements need to change for the program to be effective.

Tell NHTSA to take action

We support better safety information to guide consumer choices.  But if NHTSA is serious about making streets safe for everyone on them, it also needs to add requirements that tackle vehicle size, visibility, and speed directly into the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards that govern the design of all vehicles. 

Vehicle safety standards that save the lives of people outside cars shouldn’t be optional. Now is the opportunity for NHTSA to take meaningful action and end the epidemic of pedestrian deaths. You can tell NHTSA it needs to protect pedestrians by submitting your public comment with just one click through America Walks’ action alert page.

Learn more about our efforts to improve vehicle safety for pedestrians.