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NHTSA Proposes New Crashworthiness Pedestrian Protection Testing Program

Proposal will help improve safety for vulnerable road users

| Washington, DC

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is proposing updates to its flagship vehicle safety consumer information program, the New Car Assessment Program, or NCAP. Today, NHTSA is issuing a request for public comment on new pedestrian crashworthiness tests that measure how well vehicles protect those outside the vehicle, which can reduce pedestrian fatalities. The proposed changes will provide consumers with valuable safety information and are part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s efforts to improve safety on our nation’s roads.

“Ensuring the safety of pedestrians is a top priority at DOT, and these proposed updates to NCAP are an important step in addressing the crisis of roadway deaths in America,” said NHTSA Chief Counsel Ann Carlson. “Vehicles must be designed to protect their occupants while increasing safety for those outside the vehicle, too.”

This proposal is part of the agency’s comprehensive efforts to encourage pedestrian safety improvements in vehicles by adding tests that will show whether a vehicle can offer better protection to pedestrians in the event of a collision. These tests will provide consumers with crucial safety information about pedestrian safety and protection. NHTSA is also developing a proposed rule setting safety standards for automatic emergency braking, including pedestrian AEB for newly manufactured light vehicles. Pedestrian AEB is an in-vehicle system that can help avoid or mitigate a crash with a vulnerable road user by automatically applying the brakes.  

NHTSA is proposing to identify new model year vehicles that meet the agency’s testing criteria by assigning credit using check marks on the agency’s website.

NHTSA will take comments on the proposal for 60 days. Comments will be accepted on when the notice is posted.

In January 2022, DOT released the comprehensive National Roadway Safety Strategy, a roadmap to address the national crisis in traffic fatalities and serious injuries. It adopts the Safe System Approach and builds multiple layers of protection with safer roads, safer people, safer vehicles, safer speeds, and better post-crash care. The NRSS is complemented by unprecedented safety funding included in President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, and in February, the Department announced more than $800 million in grants to help communities carry out projects that can address high-crash areas. DOT also launched the next phase of the NRSS, its Call to Action campaign, and released a one-year progress report and accompanying data visualizations that highlight the extent and magnitude of the U.S. roadway safety problem.

The Department’s other roadway safety actions include: 

  • Produced the Vulnerable Road User Safety Assessment to guide states on required 2023 assessments. 
  • Issued the Complete Streets Report to Congress, “Moving to a Complete Streets Design Model.”
  • Issued a final rule on rear impact guards. 
  • Advanced the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices rulemaking effort, analyzing and resolving the more than 25,000 public comments. 
  • Published an Advance Supplemental Notice of Proposed Rulemaking concerning speed limiters with a motor carrier-based approach. 
  • Made significant progress to advance pedestrian AEB rulemaking. 
  • Issued a Standing General Order to collect more data about crashes that occur when automated driving systems and advanced driver assistance systems are engaged.

NHTSA 202-366-9550