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Click above to view video of the 2008 smart fortwo crash test

Each year, it seems as if more and more new models are able to ace both the IIHS' and the government's crash-test ratings. In fact, according to Transportation Secretary Mary Peters, 97-percent of all new cars available today earn the highest four or five-star ratings from NHTSA. These all-too-similar ratings makes it rather difficult for consumers to make a choice based solely on passenger safety, so the Fed's have decided to take another stab at the current rating system, which was introduced way back in 1979. Though still based on a five-star ranking, the revised 2010 ratings will include additional front-end tests and a new side-impact test meant to mimic the impact of a vehicle that collides with a tree or pole. Also new for the '10 model year is an overall rating meant to make comparisons easier between competing vehicles. More changes are possible for 2012, as NHTSA is still considering whether to make electronic nannies like stability control mandatory.

[Source: The Detroit News]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 6 Years Ago
      At some point, we need to be able to say "This is as safe as the cars need to be"! If not, cars will keep growing, getting heavier, with more complex safety systems and/or we'll simply have computers driving for us! (Sorry if that sounds cynical...)

      My first car was a 99 Civic Cx. No ABS, no electronic brake-force distribution, no stability/traction control. Driving in Ottawa and PEI, I never had any problems keeping control of my car.

      Maybe we should spend more time teaching people how to drive properly and stopping them from shaving, reading and talking on the phone while driving. That would probably save more lives than 64 airbags, an infra-red camera that tells you when a person is about to cross the road and an other camera that read street signs for you.
      • 6 Years Ago
      By the time NHTSA is done we will be driving in suits that make us look like the michelin man.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Stability control should be mandatory. No matter how much of a driving god you think you are, one day things might get out of control (or someone else might do so in your path) and you'll want bit of help you can get. It's a help to good drivers and a lifesaver for bad ones (and let's be honest, there will always be bad drivers).

      The best part about ESC is that, unlike structural reinforcements or exotic materials, it weighs nothing and costs very little. All the work is done in software, and it uses your existing brake and throttle systems.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Sure, but how often does that kind of situation really occur? Unless you're taking your car to the track, there's very few situations that ESC will guess wrong.

        A disable button on a 3-Series or Corvette? Sure. On a Chevy Malibu or Kia Sedona? Why bother?
        • 6 Years Ago
        Stability control should always be something that can be completely disabled per the drivers request. The car doesn't have the knowledge of what the driver wants to do with it, and therefore the vehicle cannot successfully aid the driver in all situations.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Just what we need with gas prices going ever higher, heavier cars to ace the new crash tests!

      It's getting to the point where these heavy cars are a hazard themselves.
        • 6 Years Ago
        We've been at that point for a while now. When the ForTwo came out, all everyone could say was "I don't want to get hit by an SUV when I'm driving that!" That distracts from the fact that a ForTwo (and cars of its type) are all you need when you're commuting to work.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Why do they insist on making cars safer, aren't they safe enough? Cars are already a lot safer then they used to be 10 years ago. By changing the rating system, all that will happen is insurance companies will have an easier time increasing people's insurance for those who purchase small cars that don't get 4 or 5 stars on the current system. If the driving tests were more strict and expensive then there would be less accidents. ex. Germany. Doing anything but driving when you're in a car should be illegal and you should have your lisence suspended for 3 months if you're doing anything to distract you from the road. I can only hope and dream.
      • 6 Years Ago
      They also may want to do a 1 to 10 system, 1-5 leaves to many cars with results that may appear the same, but are not.
        • 6 Years Ago
        I think there's too much variance in the individual test results to break it down any more precisely. Falsely giving the impression of a higher level of precision in the test results would be irresponsible.
      • 6 Years Ago
      We need more 800$ airbags so that when cheap cars get into small accidents the cars will be totaled very easily.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Cars are so safe these days, is the rating system even really needed? All I want to know personally is if it passed, if so I'm good.
      • 6 Years Ago
      We don't need "No sinking Regulation"!
      If some of us want to drive in a Veritas RS III or Volve we should. Let Darwinism happen our planet has way too many people.

      Safety Sucks!
      • 6 Years Ago
      Umm, dude's head is hanging out the window. 5 star?
        • 6 Years Ago
        Yea, his head is out the window; but, he has a nice, soft, $800 pillow to protect him as it bounces off the hood of the truck that is hitting him! Nothing to worry about ...

        All things considered I think the Smart does an amazing job protecting it's passengers, and they kept the weight down to a reasonable level for the size of car.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I sure hope this means heavier cars in the future!
        • 6 Years Ago
        Took the words right out of my mouth! The IIHS and Gov't are conspiring to make us use more fuel!
      • 6 Years Ago
      They all get 4 or 5 star ratings.. so clearly what's called for is a new 6 star level of piggish mommycell for manufacturers to aspire towards!

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