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Experts urge improved federal safety testing

Many Florida drivers prefer new cars because they have greater faith in the safety and integrity of the vehicles. They trust that they and their loved ones will receive greater protection from an injury in case of a crash. However, some experts say that the safety rating system for cars in the United States is outdated and does not capture all of the information that people need to truly judge the effectiveness of safety technologies. The five-star safety rating used by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration was developed from the 1970s to the 1990s.

The existence of the testing and rating system pushed the automotive industry to enhance safety features in its vehicles, especially as federal agencies encouraged buyers to purchase vehicles rated with four or five stars. However, the veteran official who created the program and now works as a safety advocate is urging more leadership and development from the federal government to prevent dangerous auto accidents. She says that the European Union requires four times as many safety tests for vehicles, while the U.S. program has remained stagnant.

She encouraged the adoption of tests for systems that seek to detect pedestrians and avoid crashes, as well as the development of new crash-test dummies that could better reflect diverse drivers and passengers. She also encouraged the integration of the information in the Fatality Analysis Reporting System, a database of fatal car accidents maintained by the government, in evaluating vehicles and developing tests. This information can highlight if certain vehicles are more or less likely to be involved in a serious crash.

Motor vehicle accidents can lead to severe injuries and permanent disabilities. People harmed in a crash due to someone else's negligence or a defective vehicle may consult with a personal injury attorney about their options to pursue compensation.

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