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Safety group to review how it rates cars on safety

U.S. regulators are revising the process of assigning safety ratings to new vehicles. It proposes to require more crash-avoidance technologies to achieve a perfect score. And they will update requirements for crash-test dummies that assess performance.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is proposing revision of current ratings from a single score of 1 to 5 into a multifaceted scorecard that includes the score on crash-avoidance systems and a mark for pedestrian safety.

The move signals a strategic shift for the auto-safety industry from simply measuring what happens to vehicles during collisions to how well vehicles can avoid accidents in the first place.

New ratings will gauge a vehicle’s use of nine advanced technologies, such as forward-collision warning, automatic emergency braking and lane-departure warning. It could encourage manufacturers to turn often-optional but highly profitable safety systems into standard technology. It would also increase the average price of a new car.

New test dummies have improved sensors to better predict injuries.

NHSTA will include a new frontal-oblique crash test to address what they describe as a type of angled crash “that continues to result in death and serious injuries despite seat belt use, air bags and crashworthy structures.”

“The 5-Star ratings have set the bar on safety since it began in 1978, and today we are raising that bar,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx in a statement to The Wall Street Journal.

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