NHTSA wants to highlight safety features for senior drivers
Proposed new rating system would focus on crash avoidance and other safety technologies to help protect older motorists.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration wants to rate how well automakers can prevent senior citizens from getting into car accidents.
A new “silver car” rating system would specifically judge how well safety features could help prevent accidents for older drivers. The use of certain technologies could help raise a car’s “silver” score, such as systems designed to help prevent drivers from using the wrong pedals at lower speeds.
In a posting to the Federal Register, NHTSA said that it was particularly focused on "crash avoidance" and wanted to "help identify the potential areas for improvement to the program that have the greatest potential for producing safety benefits." Advanced crash warning, lane assist and parking sensors have become more common and accessible in the current generation of new cars, and new NHTSA tests and ratings could help guide seniors in deciding which new car to buy.
In Europe, such safety features will be included in a car's overall crash rating in the European New Car Assessment Program starting in 2014. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has also said it would rate and include active safety systems in future crash tests. NHTSA had proposed ranking active safety systems on an "A to C" scale, but so far, nothing has come of it.
Other new regulations could include ratings on how well rear-seat passengers fare in accidents, along with information on how well a car protects pedestrians in crashes, as is already seen in Europe. The agency said it would conduct focus-group testing this year to determine whether buyers want such information and to determine if it should rate individual safety systems as their own category, as opposed to recommending them within larger reviews, as it does now. However NHTSA decides to incorporate new information, it said these new proposals would not affect the determination of its well-known five-star crash ratings.
“We always have to look at ways we can improve the margin of safety,” NHTSA Administrator David Strickland told reporters after the release of the Federal Register post.
We think that with an aging population, an increase in the number of senior-citizen drivers is inevitable, and creating a new set of metrics to aid that growing demographic is a natural, intelligent response. The potential new NHTSA guidelines and recommendations should not only improve safety conditions for seniors on the road, but for the rest of us as well.
I have always said that when I get to a certain age, I will stop driving, told the kids to take the keys away, but what I resent is, is people who go by me and shoot me the bird, when I'm going to speed limit, what is the hurry.
Just remember you will be a senior citizen one day, so just stop and think what you say and do, you know what they say about Karma:)
Senior drivers are more careful because they realize their reflexes are not what they were in the past. Technology such as back-up cameras and sensors are also a plus. Blind spot warning systems are also good for everybody.
The real threat on the highways comes from young drivers driving in an "offensive" mode while speeding and zipping in and out of traffic with the radio blasting. They expect other drivers to react to their behavior.
Excuse me?! They're complaining about senior citizens who DON'T TEXT AND TALK ON THEIR PHONES while driving. TEENS & ADULTS of all ages do. They are the most dangerous. Slow reflexes or not I'd rather deal w/that than someone w/their head down texting or so busy talking on the phone they're not paying attention.
It is ILLEGAL in the state of Oregon to be on the phone while in your car do you think that stops anyone?! No! Get off your damn phones and drive people!
How about features that protect the rest of motoring public from the senior drivers??? Maybe flashing green strobes on the ol' Crown Vic or Lacrosse. Neon paint? Airbags on the outside to protect YOUR car from them in the Old Country Buffet parking lot?
How about an eye test and a drivers test BEFORE they can buy that new 22 foot long land yacht?
EXPLORE NEW CARS
MORE ON MSN AUTOS
ABOUT EXHAUST NOTES
Cars are cool, and here at MSN Autos we love everything about them, but we also know they're more than simply speed and style: a car is an essential tool, a much-needed accessory to help you get through your day-to-day life. What you drive is also one of the most important investments you can make, so we'll help you navigate your way through the car buying and ownership experiences. We strive to be your daily destination for news, notes, tips and tricks from across the automotive world. So whether it's through original content from our world-class journalists or the latest buzz from the far corners of the Web, Exhaust Notes helps you make sense of your automotive world.
Have a story idea? Tip us off at email@example.com.