Recent crash tests have produced new results for the 2011 model year vehicles. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) tested over 50 vehicle models, adding new safety regulations and additional procedures. NHTSA also included a new overall star rating for each vehicle tested that combines the frontal impact, side impact, and rollover resistance ratings.
Current crash test results were based on more stringent safety standards and stricter rules, which included new regulations on safety and crash prevention technologies, as well as incorporating new crash tests. New crash test dummies were designed and used to gain a better perspective on the impact on female and adolescent drivers. Additionally, new tests were incorporated to determine how vehicles faired in different scenarios such as crashes with telephone poles and trees.
New regulations on safety and crash prevention technologies were used in safety ratings this cycle, which included regulations on forward collision warning systems, lane departure warning systems, and electronic stability systems. These new regulations were added to other safety and impact prevention systems already established such as regulations on advanced head restraints, advanced frontal air bags, side and curtain airbags, and safety belt components.
55 of the most popular vehicle models were tested by NHTSA and only 2 vehicles received an overall rating of five stars. These vehicles include the BMW 5-series and the 2011 Hyundai Sonata that includes collision warning and lane departure features.
Additionally, several vehicles received a strong four star rating this cycle. These vehicles include several Audi models such as the A4, S4, and A4 Avant. Additional vehicles that scored an overall four star rating included the Ford Fiesta, Chevrolet Tahoe, Cadillac Escalade, and GMC Yukon. The lowest rated vehicle was the Nissan Versa with an overall rating of two stars.
NHTSA continually implements regulations and testing procedures that ensure vehicles pass rigorous safety inspections, which educate consumers and drive manufactures to continually improve safety features on new vehicles.