“Government Crash Test Scores Plummet!”
That could be the headline next summer, when the federal government begins subjecting new car models to a battery of tougher crash tests.
The result will be lower test scores, even if the cars themselves remain the same or even have improved crash protection.
Casual shoppers who haven’t heard about the new tests could be startled when they see window stickers on 2011 models indicating the car may have only scored two or three stars in government crash tests, rather than the four or five stars that are typical now.
“Consumers have to recognize that it is not because previously five-star cars suddenly got less safe,” said Adrian Lund, president of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, which advocates for improved auto safety. “They are going to see the overall scores are going to be down.”
Ironically, the reason for the lower scores will be that cars have gotten so much safer.