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5-Star Safety Ratings programs for new automobile buyers

In order to ensure the complete safety of new car and automobile buyers, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, or NHTSA, has designed the 5-Star Safety Ratings Program under its New Car Assessment Program to provide important information to consumers regarding crash protection and prevention in rollover accidents. This information helps consumers to rate vehicles from highest to lowest. One star means poor safety and five stars mean the highest safety.

Many road accidents take place due to automobile design defects or defective auto parts. Therefore, it is important for new automobile buyers to check safety ratings of vehicles at SaferCar.gov. They can also check safety ratings of vehicles on their window stickers that are required to be displayed on all new automobiles. The NHTSA is one of the few organizations that rates rollover resistance of new vehicles along with frontal and side crashworthiness.

The 5-Star Safety Rating Program has changed over the years, as the safety ratings of vehicles improved with time. However, the Administration continued to look for new ways to promote vehicle safety. It started providing more comprehensive information to the buyers so that they can make an informed decision while buying a new car.

The changes in the new Safety Ratings include more information regarding crashes, using different sized crash-test dummies, provision of overall vehicle score per vehicle, side pole testing and highly advanced technologies for avoiding car crashes. The new automobiles in the US that are predicted to have high sales or the ones that have been redesigned due to safety issues are tested by NHTSA every year in order to avoid road accidents due to auto part design defects. Nevertheless, NHTSA is unable to test and rate all new vehicles, so buyers need to ensure the vehicles they are buying meet Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards.

Consumers who have purchased a defective automobile or have become a victim of an accident due to automobile design defect are protected under product liability law, which may entitle an injured victim to file a lawsuit against a negligent manufacturer.

Source: SaferCar.gov, "5 star safety ratings overview," Accessed on March 6, 2015

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