Weighting using field data – The injury risk for each dummy location would be weighted
based on the incidence, risk, occupancy, or other field-relevant data and then combined
into a single test mode score.
Partial weighting using field data, subject to constraints – Partial weighting using field
data can be used for seating positions in a given crash mode that exceed a threshold
criterion, such as percent occupancy or percent of overall fatalities. For those below a
threshold value, a constraint system can be implemented whereby a minimum
performance must be met before a given score is awarded in either the test mode or the
total crashworthiness rating.
NHTSA seeks comment on these various approaches as well as other potential
approaches not mentioned in this RFC notice.
Crash Avoidance Rating
As mentioned above, the agency intends to establish a new rating system for crash
avoidance and advanced technology systems. To continue the accepted method of consumer
information, a 5-star safety rating is preferred. Upon adoption of the planned rating, NHTSA
intends to discontinue its practice of recommending advanced technologies on Safercar.gov. The
agency may begin listing technologies that are available but that have not achieved the NCAP
level of performance in the Safety Features box on the second page of each vehicle rating on
Safercar.gov. All recent vehicle models that have a rearview video system are listed in this box,
even if they do not achieve all of the performance in the NCAP test procedure. Currently, the
agency intends to include 11 crash avoidance and advanced technology systems as part of the
new rating system for the NCAP upgrade; 9 technologies in the crash avoidance rating described
in this section and 2 crash avoidance technologies in the pedestrian rating that is described in the
next section. NHTSA selected these systems for inclusion in NCAP based on potential safety
The rating methodology for the crash avoidance and advanced technology systems under
consideration would be based on a point system. For each technology, a point value for full or
half credit would be determined. The maximum point value of all technologies earning full credit
would equal 100 points. The point value of each individual technology, (designated A or B, etc.
below) is based on the proportion of their individual benefit potential divided by the sum of all
the benefits estimated for all of the technologies in the crash avoidance program projected onto a
Each technology then has its own total credit value toward the possible 100-point
maximum score system. For technologies with pass or fail criterion, the credit may be awarded
as total credit for pass performance or as no credit for fail performance. For example, a vehicle
having a forward collision warning system might earn a 12-point credit toward the 100-point
maximum score if it is standard equipment on that vehicle with acceptable performance.
Credit may be adjusted to a lesser value for several reasons. One reason would be in
order to rate the performance of a particular technology into stratified levels of performance. For
example, rating CIB by the amount of speed reduction can be divided into 5 levels of
performance. A second example is the rollover rating. The rollover rating, currently a 5-star
system, is based on the vehicle’s static stability factor (SSF) and whether it tipped up in a
dynamic test. The credit for rollover would be adjusted by 1/5
for each star earned with SSF.
Equation 2 below is an example of how an adjusted credit would be calculated for rollover.
A second reason for adjusting the credit would be if the system is offered as optional equipment.
Differentiation is introduced such that the vehicle would receive half credit for a technology that
was offered as optional equipment with a take rate (i.e., options exercised by the consumer)
above a pre-determined level and full credit for a technology that was standard equipment.
The overall score is than the sum of all the credits for all technologies.
The crash avoidance star rating scale may be a simple conversion of 1 star for every 20 credit
points accumulated. A possible star-rating scale would be as follows in Table 11.
Table 11. Crash Avoidance Rating Scale
CA Point Total
As listed and shown in the table below, the crash avoidance systems would be separated
into three categories with maximum points awarded to each technology:
Category 1: Forward warning and AEB would include FCW (12 points), CIB (12 points),
and DBS (11 points) – cumulative 35 points total.
Category 2: Visibility would include lower beam headlighting (15 points), semi
automatic headlamp beam switching (9 points), and amber rear turn signal lamps (6
points) – cumulative 30 points total.
Category 3: Driver Awareness/Other would include LDW (7 points), blind spot detection
(8 points), and rollover resistance (20 points) – cumulative 35 points total.
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Table 12. CA Technology Point Values
Crash Avoidance Technology
Forward Warning and AEB
Lower beam headlighting
Semi-automatic headlamp beam
Amber rear turn signal lamps
Blind Spot Detection
Pedestrian Protection Rating
NHTSA intends to rate vehicles for pedestrian protection using results from the four
crashworthiness pedestrian tests (two headform, one upper legform, and one lower legform) and
system performance tests of two advanced crash avoidance technologies that have the potential
to avoid or mitigate crashes that involve a pedestrian and improve pedestrian safety – PAEB and
rear automatic braking. From a consumer perspective, the agency believes that it is beneficial to
aggregate the scores of PAEB and rear automatic braking systems with a vehicle’s
crashworthiness pedestrian protection scores so that a separate, single pedestrian protection score
could be clearly distinguished from the other two ratings (crashworthiness and crash avoidance)
for consumers. Consumers could then make informed purchasing decisions for their families
about whether to purchase vehicles that are equipped with these pedestrian safety related features
and technologies and rated in one category – pedestrian protection. Alternatively, the agency
acknowledges that including these forward and rear automatic braking technologies in the crash
avoidance rating calculation (instead of in the pedestrian protection rating calculation) may be an
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effective means to encourage market penetration of these crash avoidance technologies. NHTSA
seeks comment on the best approach to assess and rate a vehicle’s various pedestrian protection
For the crashworthiness pedestrian score, NHTSA intends to use the same (or similar)
scoring system and apportioning that Euro NCAP uses in accordance with the Assessment
Protocol, “Pedestrian Protection, Part 1 – Pedestrian Impact Assessment, Version 8.1, June
2015.” In short, the crashworthiness pedestrian safety scoring would be apportioned as follows:
• 2/3 of the score would be based on headform tests.
• 1/6 of the score would be based on upper legform tests.
• 1/6 of the score would be based on lower legform tests.
For the pedestrian crash avoidance score, the vehicle would receive credit for being
equipped with the technology, provided that vehicle satisfies the performance requirements for
each test scenario. If a PAEB or rear automatic braking system is offered as an optional safety
technology, the vehicle model would receive half credit for the technology. If a PAEB or rear
automatic braking system is offered as a standard safety technology, the vehicle model would
receive full credit for the technology.
The agency requests comments on the approach to aggregate the four crashworthiness
pedestrian test results with the two pedestrian crash avoidance test results into one pedestrian
VII. Communications Efforts in Support of NCAP Enhancements
As NHTSA implements this NCAP upgrade planned for 2018 beginning with
MY 2019 vehicles, communicating these changes to the public will be critical to ensure that
consumers understand how the program will help them make informed choices about vehicle
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safety and incentivize improvements in vehicle safety. NHTSA’s efforts may include executing a
comprehensive communications plan utilizing outreach strategies to inform and equip new
vehicle shoppers with the latest vehicle safety information. The agency plans to publish a final
decision notice in 2016, which will describe this NCAP upgrade in detail. The agency plans to
begin its outreach efforts in the three years following that, prior to the planned program
implementation in 2018. NHTSA is considering the following activities to effectively promote
awareness of the changes in this NCAP upgrade and its new 5-Star Safety Ratings system:
Consumer Information – As the vehicle research and purchasing process has largely
shifted to online, so has the need to better convey vehicle safety information on
Safercar.gov. Approaches to improving consumer information may include:
o Enhancing topical areas under the 5-Star Safety Ratings and Safety Technologies
sections on Safercar.gov – These areas may include providing more consumer-
friendly information on NCAP’s safety testing and criteria, results from individual
crash test modes, as well as emerging vehicle safety technologies that are of
significant interest to consumers.
o Restructuring NCAP-related content on Safercar.gov to improve organization –
Because the Safercar.gov site and its topics have grown, there is a need to
reevaluate the landing page and reorganize some of the content so that consumers
can more easily access safety information.
o Improving the search functionality on the website – With the large amount of
information in the NCAP database, more flexible search functionality is needed.
NHTSA will look into improving the search function through the introduction of
both advanced search programming and the introduction of new search features.
Common search feature requests to the agency include providing consumers with
the option to search by crash avoidance technology or by star rating across vehicle
o Creating engaging and interactive digital materials – In this digital age, consumers
are more likely to watch video than read text-heavy content when learning about
vehicle safety. NHTSA will explore creating digital materials that utilize videos
(live-action, animated, or interactive) to educate consumers about the NCAP
o Weaving simple, high-level messages into digital materials – Communicating this
NCAP upgrade using clear, concise and consumer-friendly language is vital.
Also, digital material that will be available on Safercar.gov will include consistent
Dealer Toolkit – NHTSA intends to create tailored material describing important points
about this NCAP upgrade to distribute to vehicle dealers. This material would help get
dealers up-to-speed about the program enhancements so that they could communicate the
changes to prospective vehicle purchasers. The material could include technical and
tailored language required to effectively describe the new enhancements, including but
not limited to the following:
o Need for the new program;
o Explanation of the key changes from the existing to the new program;
o Benefits of the new program; and
o List of the most anticipated questions from consumers.
In addition to material that educates dealers and dealer salesforces, NHTSA may also
create material for distribution at the point of sale. For example, fact sheets or a 1-pager with
frequently asked questions about NHTSA’s new 5-Star Safety Ratings program could be on-hand
so that prospective vehicle purchasers can learn how the program enhancements affect them and
why it is important to make safety a priority in their vehicle purchases. This point-of-sale
material could also include consistent branding and direct consumers to Safercar.gov where they
can learn more about the program enhancements.
Partner Outreach – Utilizing existing relationships and developing new partnerships
with the online automotive community to better educate consumers and help distribute
the messages to a broader audience would ensure that consumers are informed about the
new program improvements. These third-party relationships would expand the agency’s
reach. NHTSA could work with existing third-party organizations and recruit additional
partners to promote content on Safercar.gov. The agency believes that working with its
partners will play a key role in the success of the launch of this NCAP upgrade. The
agency is considering the following actions:
Develop collateral materials with partners to distribute through relevant channels;
Provide key messages and talking points about the new program enhancements to
partners to distribute through their internal and external communications
Secure speaking opportunities with NHTSA officials at partner events to discuss
the new program enhancements.
Social Media – Messaging on NHTSA’s social media platforms will also be important to
inform consumers about the new program enhancements, by maintaining a steady
drumbeat of messages. NHTSA would monitor its social media channels and respond to
online “conversations” in real-time, which would help increase engagement surrounding
the new program improvements. NHTSA would also identify opportunities to re-tweet
and re-post online influencers who interact with NHTSA’s content. This would give users
recognition for sharing NHTSA’s content and also vary posts on the social media
Press Event – A series of media announcements from the U.S. Department of
Transportation and NHTSA’s officials about the new program would be made over the
next few years to inform the public about this NCAP upgrade.
Once the agency considers the public comments and makes a final decision about what
changes will be made to NCAP, it will address as appropriate, any applicable vehicle labeling
issues relating to the Monroney label, commonly known as the vehicle window sticker.
Since its inception, NCAP has stimulated the development of safer vehicles. The agency
recognizes the need to continually encourage improvements in the safety of vehicles by
expanding the areas vehicle manufacturers need to consider in designing their vehicles and by
making more challenging the tests and criteria on which NCAP star ratings are based. Only by
doing this will NHTSA, and thereby consumers, be able to continue to identify vehicles with
truly exceptional safety features and performance.
This RFC notice identifies a number of new areas the agency intends to add to NCAP as
well as new assessment tools and tests. These include (1) adding a new frontal oblique crash test;
(2) using a THOR 50
percentile male crash test dummy in the frontal oblique and full frontal
tests; (3) replacing one of the dummies currently used in side crash testing with the WorldSID
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