Car buyers in Washington and across the U.S. probably know about the crash test safety ratings given by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. These go from a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being the safest. The rating system dates back to the 1990s and has undoubtedly helped promote safety and save lives, but according to one report, it is in serious need of upgrading.

The report, published in October 2019, states that the NHTSA is not performing enough crash tests or providing ratings for newer vehicle safety features like automatic emergency braking and pedestrian detection. The agency has, however, promised that it would add test procedures and new ratings. It additionally promised to redesign its crash dummies for more accurate results.

Lack of funding and “political will” seem to be the obstacles. As it stands, the U.S. is falling behind Europe, Asia and Latin America in its crash testing. The report asserts that Europe performs four times as many crash tests as the U.S. before it rates vehicle safety. Car buyers want more than just a safety rating, though; they want to know how a vehicle fares in real-world situations. For this reason, they may find the Fatality Analysis Reporting System of great benefit. Experts say FARS data should be made more accessible to the average driver.

People who are injured in car accidents often have to face lengthy periods of expensive medical care and treatment. In many cases, they are unable to return to work during their recovery period. If it can be determined that the crash was the result of the negligence of another party, an attorney could assist such a victim in seeking compensation for the losses that have been sustained.