Euro NCAP is changing its car safety rating system, with new crash-test standards coming into force from February 2009.
The new car safety ratings will reward the best carmakers by providing a single overall safety star rating (instead of the current three), made up of scores in four areas:
• Adult protection: the existing adult protection tests (front and side impacts and the pole test) are complemented by a new ‘whiplash’ test of how the car protects against injuries during a rear impact.
• Child protection: includes a crash test and an assessment of the detailed car design to ensure correct child car seat installation, (including the car / child car seat interface, advice and warning labels).
• Pedestrian protection: how well each car is designed to minimise head and leg injuries for adults or children involved in a collision with it.
• Safety assist: systems to help avoid crashes and mitigate their effects, including stability control, (helps maintain control against skidding in an emergency avoidance manoeuvre) speed limiting devices and seat belt reminder systems.
To achieve the top five-star Euro NCAP rating after February 2009, a car must do well in all the safety tests and, for the first time, stability control must be fitted as standard across the range (initially in 80% of European countries, but rising to 100% by 2012).
David Evans, Which? motoring specialist said: ‘We welcome the new proposals, particularly the addition of the whiplash ratings and the emphasis on fitting electronic stability control.
‘Which? has for a long time, taken issue with manufacturers when it comes to the design of head restraints to protect car occupants in a rear shunt. We will publish the first batch of Euro NCAP whiplash ratings later this month.
‘And we know how stability control can help avoid the accident in the first place – so the changes to the NCAP ratings should see it become standard across all mainstream cars much quicker.’
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