Friday, April 29, 2005

Government Crash Tests Hit the Wall

The Government Accountability Office finds that SUVs have skewed the government's crash test rankings. The GAO warns that the system needs to change with the times or it'll become irrelevant.

The system uses five stars to show the safety level of a vehicle in a crash. The GAO report says the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration needs to take into account rollovers, roof crushing, and how SUVs interact with smaller cars in crashes.

NHTSA spent $7.7 million last year smashing, crashing, and rolling over 121 vehicles. Most of the cars tested get four or five stars -- the highest rankings for safety.

The GAO warns that those high rankings for every car are sort of like "grade inflation." They give automakers little incentive for improving safety and don't give consumers enough information about differences in safety between different vehicles. (BaltSun)

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