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How cars could be made safer

Some Kentucky consumers may choose cars in part based on the safety rating system that gives vehicles from one to five stars. However, this system has fallen behind those in other countries, and there are steps the government could take to improve it once again.

Joan Claybrook was the leader of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in the 1970s when the New Car Assessment Program was created. This program, which involved using crash test dummies with new cars, became the 5-star system in the 1990s. In October, Claybrook, who works for the Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, released a report pointing out how far behind the United States is compared to many other countries. Europe has many more safety tests than the U.S., and among the systems that could be tested are those for pedestrian detection. According to Claybrook, there is a lack of funding and political will to implement the changes she believes are critical to safety.

Among the safety measures that have been mentioned but not implemented by the government are new crash test dummies that are more representative of passengers and drivers along with new ratings and test procedures. A federal database of deadly motor vehicle accidents exists, the Fatality Analysis Reporting System, but the information it provides is not widely used for safety as it could be.

When people are injured in motor vehicle accidents, it is important to determine who is at fault since that party may be responsible for paying financial compensation to the victims for their medical bills and other losses. Unfortunately, insurance companies may not always be forthcoming in paying these expenses, which is why it might be wise to have legal assistance during the process.

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