GAO Report on New Car Assessment Program (NCAP)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Judie Stone
April 28, 2005 (202) 408-1711 x23

STATEMENT OF JUDITH LEE STONE, PRESIDENT
ADVOCATES FOR HIGHWAY AND AUTO SAFETY (ADVOCATES)

On Release of
"Vehicle Safety - Opportunities Exist to Enhance NHTSA's New Car Assessment Program" (Government Accountability Office Report)
April 28, 2005


We applaud the Government Accounting Office (GAO) for pushing the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to find ways to get more safety out of the New Car Assessment Program (NCAP.) Consumers want to be better informed about safety systems and how they perform on new cars, and manufacturers can be compelled to produce safer cars through improved government crash tests and consumer information.

Right now you can get better consumer information on a $4 box of cereal than on a $30,000 car.

Advocates worked with Congress to authorize this report because we know that American consumers want the federal government to provide relevant and thorough safety information about any new car they purchase. In a 2004 Lou Harris poll commissioned by Advocates, 83% said they want information about a new car's likelihood to roll over on a sticker placed on the windshield. Only 31% are aware of a government website that contains consumer information about vehicle rollover.

The GAO report urges NHTSA to include ratings in NCAP for vehicle compatibility - the mismatch between vehicles of different sizes and weights -- in front and side impact tests. The report also recommended improving NCAP's ability to measure and rate the risks associated with a rollover crash which could be accomplished by testing roof strength and occupant protection in rollovers.

These are recommendations that Advocates has for years urged NHTSA to adopt in order to improve NCAP. While we appreciate that NHTSA is considering upgrading the frontal NCAP test, we urge the agency to move quickly in adopting comprehensive improvements to NCAP.

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Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety (Advocates), an alliance of consumer, health and safety groups and insurance companies and agents working together to make America's roads safer, is actively involved at the federal and state levels to reduce the terrible tragedy of crashes to families across the nation.

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