With the new 5-Star Safety Ratings System of 2011 and 2012, it is safer for seniors and those with disabilities to drive. High-tech safety features can help drivers avoid accidents altogether.

Starting with 2011 models, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) introduced tougher tests and rigorous new 5-Star Safety Ratings that provide more information about vehicle safety and crash avoidance technologies. (Because of the more stringent tests, ratings for 2011 and newer vehicles should not be compared to ratings for 1990-2010 models. Overall vehicle score and frontal crash ratings should ONLY be compared to other vehicles of similar size and weight.)

The ratings measure the crash worthiness and rollover safety of vehicles. Five stars is the highest rating, one is the lowest.

New criteria for the ratings system offers a single Overall Vehicle Score per vehicle, and highlights new crash avoidance technologies.

While not part of the 5-Star Ratings System, NHTSA identifies vehicles that are also equipped with the following advanced technology features:

  • Electronic stability control maintains vehicle control.
  • Advanced head restraints reduce potential head/neck injuries in crashes.
  • Advanced frontal air bags protect in frontal crashes, shielding the driver’s and front passenger’s head, neck and chest.
  • Lane departure warning monitors lane markings on the road and cautions driver of unintentional drift.
  • Side air bags and curtains protect in side crashes, shielding a passenger’s head, neck, chest and pelvis.
  • Safety belt load limiter and safety belt pretensioner absorbs crash energy and tightens belts to restrain occupants.
  • Forward collision warning detects vehicles ahead, cautioning drivers of impending collisions.

1990-2010 5-Star Safety Ratings provide front crash, side crash and rollover resistance ratings, while 2011 ratings include an additional overall rating score to make it easy to compare vehicles. 5-Star Safety Ratings can be found on http://www.safercar.gov/ .

This mobility safety update has been brought to you by NMEDA – the National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association. Need some information on how to make your vehicle wheelchair accessible or upgraded with the latest and most convenient features? Contact a NMEDA dealer in your local area. Your local NMEDA member is a mobility equipment and accessibility expert!

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