As a driver, one hopes that their car underwent all possible safety evaluations before hitting the market and eventually hitting the road. Along with fuel efficiency, cargo capacity, acceleration time, and cost, vehicle safety is a factor that many consider when purchasing a car. However, for almost half a million passenger cars and SUVs sold each year, crash-test ratings are not available to the public.
The two main organizations that conduct independent assessments of vehicle safety are the federal National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. All automobile prototypes are required by law to be crash-tested before being offered to customers, but there is no requirement that the test results must be released to the public. Additionally, there is also no requirement that vehicles must be crash-tested by one or both of the independent rating organizations. Because of this, sports cars, luxury vehicles, and large vans are unlikely to undergo crash-testing. Vehicles of this nature are produced in low-volume, so the cost of independent testing is too great for the NHTSA and the IIHS to justify. A number of untested models are new or redesigned, or simply waiting to be tested.
What Should I Do If My Car Hasn’t Been Tested?
A lack of testing does not necessarily signify an unsafe vehicle or concealing of poor test results, rather, a prioritization of other vehicles for testing. Currently, no Jaguar, Porsche, or Land Rover models are rated by the NHTSA or the IIHS because models like the Ford Explorer, Honda CR-V, Nissan Pathfinder, and Dodge Durango sell at higher volumes and are therefore prioritized for testing. Some cars that are currently unrated, like the Cadillac CT4, are awaiting testing in the future.
If you are planning on buying a car that does not have publicly available crash-test data, there is research you can do to get an idea of the vehicle’s safety. A simple Google search of driver fatality rates and insurance claim losses by make and model can give you a clearer picture of how the vehicle performs in real-world crashes.
According to Consumer Reports, listed below are vehicles without public crash-test ratings from the NHTSA or the IIHS, organized by average annual sales volume.
- All Land Rover Vehicles – $94,736
- All Porsche Vehicles – $61,658
- All Jaguar Vehicles – $31,051
- Lexus GX – $25,945
- Mercedes-Benz GLS – $22,225
- Mercedes-Benz GLA -$ 22,137
- BMW X7 – $21,574
- BMW 4 Series – $18,621
- Chevrolet Corvette – $17,988
- Mercedes-Benz A-Class – $17,641
- Mercedes-Benz S-Class – $12,528
- Mercedes-Benz CLA – $12,400
- Honda Clarity – $11,654
- Toyota Sequoia – $10,289
- Mazda MX-5 Miata – $7,753
Federal Standards for Vehicle Safety
To sell a vehicle in the U.S., vehicle manufacturers must provide their own crash-test information to the NHTSA to ensure that they meet minimum federal standards. This means that even cars that do not get publicly crash-tested by the NHTSA or the IIHS are still rigorously tested for safety to comply with federal regulations. The NHTSA will also randomly test vehicles at times and manufacturers can request crash-tests as well.
Ultimately, vehicle safety is undeniably important for most people buying cars. Whether it is through public crash-testing, manufacturer crash-test data, driver fatality rates, or insurance claim losses, consumers have a number of ways to assess the safety of their vehicle.
Contact a Car Accident Lawyer
Car accidents still happen, despite rigorous safety testing. If you have been involved in a car accident in a vehicle, with or without public safety ratings, car accident claims can be confusing. A dedicated car accident lawyer at McCready Law can help you navigate your car accident claim- reach out today to speak to an experienced professional that can help you get the compensation that you deserve.