In the 1990s, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration initiated a 5-star rating system for car safety. These ratings are based on a series of crash tests and thus give buyers a good idea of how a vehicle might hold up in a crash. Pennsylvania residents should know, however, that there are calls to update the rating system and the crash test procedures that it’s based on.

One report from October 2019 criticizes the federal agency for failing to add new test procedures and new ratings as the technology in vehicles continues to develop. In particular, there is a great need for buyers to know how effective are vehicle safety features like automatic emergency braking and pedestrian detection. The NHTSA, for its part, has promised to make these additions, but there are obstacles like the lack of funding.

According to the report, Europe, Asia and Latin America all surpass the U.S. when it comes to the thoroughness of their crash testing. Europe tests its vehicles four times as much as the U.S. before rating their safety. Accurate crash tests are important, but real-world data even more so. Some experts say that the Fatality Analysis Reporting System provides such data, but it needs to become more accessible for potential car buyers. Only researchers, insurers and automakers can seem to understand it.

People who have been injured in a car accident often require lengthy periods of expensive medical treatment, and in many cases they are unable to earn a living while they are recovering. If it can be determined that the crash was due to the negligence of another party, victims might want to have an attorney’s help when seeking compensation for their losses.