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NHTSA Ponders Crash Avoidance Score for New Cars

 The U.S. government’s five-star rating system for a vehicle’s occupant protection may be expanded to cover technology that helps prevent a crash in the first place.The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is asking for pubic comment on possible changes to the so-called U.S.

 The U.S. government’s five-star rating system for a vehicle’s occupant protection may be expanded to cover technology that helps prevent a crash in the first place.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is asking for pubic comment on possible changes to the so-called U.S. New Car Assessment Program, which ranks vehicles in terms of crash performance.

The agency says one option would give carmakers credit in the form of better safety scores for including such crash-avoidance features as automatic braking, blind spot monitors, lane departure warnings, advanced headlamp systems and cross-traffic monitoring sensors.

The NHTSA’s lengthy list of other items for consideration include a “silver” rating for the protection of older occupants, revised crash test procedures and injury criteria, new test dummies, pedestrian safety measures and special test protocols for electric vehicles.