Safety important when purchasing a car

The American Press

Automobile manufacturers have made great strides in vehicle safety, so it only makes sense when shopping to keep car safety as one of the primary buying considerations.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, an agency of the U.S. Department of Transportation, is dedicated to helping consumers make the right buying decisions when purchasing a vehicle.

The NHTSA website has a great service that can help consumers called the “Government 5-Star Safety Ratings.” The agency conducts safety tests to determine how well new vehicles protect drivers and passengers during a crash, how well vehicles resist rollovers, and whether vehicles equipped with the latest safety technologies can help drivers avoid crashes altogether.

These annual NHTSA tests include new cars, trucks, sport utility vehicles and vans and rates them using the 5-Star Safety Ratings.

Statistics show most injury-casing vehicle crashes are either frontal or side crashes, and more than one-quarter of passenger vehicle accident deaths occur in rollovers.

The government notes that it is impossible to determine what vehicles protect drivers and passengers in all types of crashes, but the ratings help car buyers compare safety features and crash performance across different car models.

You can find the latest government ratings for vehicles, car seats and tires at www.nhtsa.gov/ratings.

The NHTSA was established in 1970 with the goal of reducing deaths, injuries and economic losses resulting from motor vehicles crashes. It began its testing and rating program in 1978 and its 5-Star program for consumers in 1993.

Interestingly, the agency has developed crash dummies for its crash tests to determine the impact of the various types of crashes have on the human body.

Also, studies have shown that 94 percent of crashes are caused by human error, and safety technologies have been developed to stop many of those types of accidents.

Among those safety technologies are lane keeping support, pedestrian automatic emergency braking, and blind spot detection. In addition, safety belts, side air bags, tire pressure monitoring systems are other examples.

Take advantage of this important crash rating system, as well as many other safety tips, by checking out the NHTSA website at www.nhtsa.gov.