Safety Advocates Accuse NHTSA of "Starflation"

safety advocates accuse nhtsa of starflation

Jack Gillis reckons the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's (NHTSA) crash test ratings are misleading. "It's impossible for car buyers to separate the truly good performers from those at the bottom of the list," asserts the Director of Public Affairs for the Consumer Federation of America (CFA). Gillis points out that nearly every new vehicle sold in the U.S.– some 96 percent of them– are blessed with a four or five star NHTSA front crash rating. His Car Book provides a guide to the non-invidious distinctions between models, and our podcast clarifies Gillis' call for new testing standards. Meanwhile, here's the best/worst from the CFA's safety list, which combines front and side NHTSA ratings for an overall ranking.

Category/Best/Worst

Subcompact/Hyundai Accent/Toyota Yaris


Compact/Chevrolet HHR/Chrysler PT Cruiser


Intermediate/Toyota Avalon/Pontiac Grand Prix


Large/Acura RL/Cadillac DTS


Minivan/Kia Sedona/Kia Rondo


Small SUV/Jeep Liberyty/Jeep Compass


Midsize SUV/Volvo XC90/Cadillac SRX


Large SUV/Chevrolet Tahoe/Chevrolet Trailblazer

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  • Redbarchetta Redbarchetta on Mar 12, 2008

    Bancho I think it's a great idea also. Testing in this country is pathetic right now and seriously needs to be fixed for all our sakes. And the cost to impliment this would easily be recouped by the drop in injuries and property loss from the crap driving we have now.

  • Rpn453 Rpn453 on Mar 12, 2008

    virages, When I watched that video (an excellent test, BTW), I paused it before the crash to check the weights. The Modus is about 2600 lb while the Volvo is about 3200 lb, so there's not as big of a difference as it seems. Good to see that cars are getting safer. Sounds like it's time to up the speed on the crash tests again!

  • Bancho Bancho on Mar 12, 2008

    Landcrusher : I know what you mean. Someone would cry that "their rights are being violated" or that we're singling out a particular group. The thing is when I was in the USAF we weren't allowed to operate any vehicle we hadn't been trained and licensed on (even if it were a Chevy pickup truck or Blazer). I had a good time with it though and qualified on everything from the MRC-107 Jeep, HMMVW, deuce and a half, 5 ton trucks and some forklifts for variety.

  • Offroadinfrontier Offroadinfrontier on Mar 12, 2008

    Why don't we test our dummies with arms in the US?

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