The ratings system by which the safety of cars is assessed is to be overhauled from next year, it has been revealed. Euro NCap, the European body in charge of car safety, will soon be looking at the ‘overall safety’ of cars, instead of just certain categories.
The new system will take into account technological advancements such as electronic stability control, and for the first time cars will be rated on how well each vehicle protects adult occupants from whiplash. Until now cars have been rated on how well they protect passengers and pedestrians whilst being put through a crash simulator.
However it has become apparent to NCap that car companies have been targeting the adult occupation part of the test in order to attract customers with high scores. In the latest test four out of five cars achieved top marks in adult occupant protection, but just two - the Renault Koleos and the Hyundai i30 - scored as high as four out of five for child occupant protection. For pedestrian protection all but one of the cars on test were given two stars out of the possible four. The Mercedes ML Class off-roader received just one star.
A spokesman for Euro NCap said: ‘Euro NCap believes that consumers are interested in the safety offered to all occupants and also to other road users when they are choosing a new car; for this reason, Euro NCap is developing a new system that will reward the overall safety of the vehicle.’
Michiel van Ratingen, Euro NCap’s secretary general, said he is glad that more and more cars are scoring top marks in the tests, but he believes the safety bar must continue to be raised. 'Our new rating system will do this,’ he added. 'I have no doubt that manufactures will step up to the challenge.'
The first results under the new system are expected to be released in February 2009.
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