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Safety ratings may be misleading

Professionals who study car safety ratings say that many vehicles Wisconsin drivers and others own may not be as safe as advertised. This is because crash tests don't consider how smaller vehicles fare in head-on collisions with larger vehicles. Vehicles are rated by the National Highway and Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) on a scale of 1 to 5. Those who receive the highest score are generally thought to be the safest on the roads.

It is worth pointing out that the NHTSA is transparent about this issue, and it does collect data on all fatal crashes that occur in the United States. Data stretching back to the 1970s can be analyzed through FARS, which stands for Fatality Analysis Reporting System, using a tool called Auto Grades. The creator of the tool acknowledged that the current rating system was an effective tool in the past. However, it may be time to upgrade it to help keep everyone on the road safe.

To use the Auto Grades tool, a person can simply enter the make, model and model year of a given vehicle. With that information, a person will see a safety grade that is based on FARS data. The safest vehicles will receive an A grade while those with the poorest safety track record will receive an F.

There are many factors that may determine the severity of any injuries people sustain in motor vehicle accidents. Generally speaking, if a smaller car collides with a larger one, those in the smaller vehicle will be more likely to get hurt. Other factors include the speed at which the collision occurred and whether a person was wearing a seat belt. If a negligent driver caused the crash, injured victims may be entitled to compensation.

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