The government just doesn't listen …

We told the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in 2005 and again in 2007 how it could improve its auto crash test information program. (This information gives car buyers an idea of how safe a vehicle is.) The Government Accountability Office told the agency similar things in 2005 too. So you would think that NHTSA would have heeded the advice and really strengthened this program, which has been sorely out of date for years. But no. NHTSA today, in announcing improvements to the program, still didn’t address glaring omissions.

What’s missing is pretty important. Here’s what the program, known as the New Car Assessment Program, or NCAP, doesn’t do: It doesn’t include a real-world crash test to determine a vehicle’s safety in a rollover. It doesn’t test for vehicle performance in rear crashes and pedestrian crashes, and it doesn’t test child safety restraints. It doesn’t measure the compatibility of vehicles on the road, which is particularly important given all the talll, hulking SUVs around.

Our own president, Joan Claybrook, established the NCAP program in 1979 while head of NHTSA. Her idea was not only to provide safety information to car buyers, but also to push auto manufacturers to go beyond the basic safety standards when designing vehicles. Other countries that copied us have surpassed us. Our government is missing a huge opportunity to quickly and easily boost safety. Get more details here.