Recently, the U.S. DOT proposed making major changes to the NHTSA’s crash test safety ratings to better gauge the safety performance of new vehicles.

The Texas Department of Transportation reports there was one reportable auto accident across the state every 66 seconds in 2014. Often, motor vehicle collisions result in serious injuries or death for the drivers and passengers of the automobiles that are involved. In order to improve the safety of motor vehicle occupants, the U.S. Department of Transportation recently proposed making several changes to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's new vehicle safety ratings.

New crash test dummies

Crash test dummies have long been used to identify how automobile occupants might be affected by collisions. One of the changes that the U.S. DOT has proposed is the implementation of new crash test dummies. This would include using worldwide harmonized side impact dummies and test device for human occupant restraint dummies. These dummies are more human like than those that are currently in use. Using these dummies will allow safety regulators to better gauge how people may be affected by motor vehicle accidents by furnishing improved data, according to the NHTSA.

Improved crash tests

The NHTSA reports that the proposed changes will include new and improved crash tests. Among these will be a full frontal barrier crash test and a frontal oblique crash test. The new tests will evaluate how the automobiles protect occupants in collisions and how they protect pedestrians in pedestrian-involved accidents.

Updated safety ratings

Currently, the NHTSA's vehicle crash test ratings focus on how vehicles fair in auto collisions. New automobiles are assigned a score of between one and five stars. The vehicles that are deemed the safest receive five-star ratings.

The updated safety ratings will include an assessment of pedestrian protection and the vehicle's use of advanced crash avoidance, in addition to vehicle safety during wrecks. New automobiles will receive a multifaceted score with weight given to each of these factors. Additionally, half star increments will be implemented to help provide more detailed information about the vehicle's safety performance. Barring any political, bureaucratic or other delays, these updates will go into effect beginning with model year 2019 vehicles, the USA Today reports.

Consulting with an attorney

Despite vehicle safety measures and ratings, auto accidents in Texas and elsewhere often result in serious injuries for those involved. Those who suffer such injuries may require medical treatment, which may lead to lost wages and unexpected medical bills. Since negligent drivers may be held liable for these, and other resulting damages, those who have experienced situations such as this may find it helpful to speak with an attorney. A legal representative may help them to understand their options for pursuing financial compensation.