It seems that every new vehicle receives a "Five Star" rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) these days. In fact, a whopping 98% of all 2007 and 2008 models achieved four or five stars. NHTSA is planning a new ratings system
that will make it more difficult to achieve top scores and the new standards were scheduled to take effect for the 2010 model year. But the agency has decided to delay the new testing standards until 2011, giving automakers another year to plan for the test while providing consumers additional time to understand the new rating system. The delay is welcome news for automakers, concerned that the new standards would cause more financial headaches as they attempt to weather the economic downturn. However, NHTSA critic Public Citizen is unhappy with the postponement, saying that it will make the situation tougher for consumers in the long run.