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U.S. Department of Transportation To Announce Plan to Revise Crash Tests

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Washington DC January 8, 2007; The AIADA newsletter reported that the U.S. Department of Transportation will announce plans today to revise its automobile crash tests at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, following two years of criticism that too many cars have reached the highest ranking of five stars.

According to a press release by the Department this week, U.S. Transportation Secretary Mary Peters will announce "plans to improve government crash tests for new vehicles." Details of the agency's goals were not available, but officials said the department would release a lengthy study of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's New Car Assessment Program, which will show how the testing program can be improved to reflect real-world conditions in crashes.

Safety advocates have called for crash tests to be more rigorous and to include higher speed crashes and larger impact vehicles. Adrian Lund, president of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, said, "They need to do something that will accelerate vehicle design improvements," Lund said. "If everyone gets four or five stars, that's not useful."