ASA Joins NHTSA in Safer Car Campaign
|ASA has joined the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in promoting its Safer Car Campaign. ASA is asking its members to help communicate the importance of safe driving to customers and encourage customers to visit the NHTSA Web site, www.Safercar.gov. There they will find a wealth of information.|
The Automotive Service Association has joined the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in promoting its Safer Car Campaign.
ASA is asking its members to help communicate the importance of safe driving to customers and encourage them to visit www.Safercar.gov. There they will find a wealth of safety resources including information on how to report a safety defect, search for a recall and review facts regarding child passenger safety, tire maintenance and rollover prevention.
The Web site offers a variety of safety-related resources for new and used car buyers, as well as existing vehicle owners.
Following are some questions and answers about Safercar.gov, what it is and what it does.
Question: What is Safercar.gov?
Answer: Safercar.gov is a Web site run by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that serves as the government's premier source for vehicle safety information.
Question: What kind of vehicle safety information can be found on Safercar.gov?
Answer: Safercar.gov provides consumers with the latest information on how to be a safer driver, Government 5-Star Safety Ratings and rollover ratings information. It also features instructions on how to file a potential safety-related defect to NHTSA. Visitors can also search a comprehensive history of defects and recalls; sign up for RSS feeds; and register to receive recall notifications by e-mail.
Question: What if my customers are buying a new car and they want to know which cars are the safest to buy?
Answer: Safercar.gov features an extensive database of Government 5-Star Safety Ratings. NHTSA is the agency of the Department of Transportation that conducts crash tests on new vehicles to determine the level of protection for drivers and passengers during front- and side-impact crashes. NHTSA also conducts rollover tests to determine the likelihood of a vehicle rolling over if involved in a single-vehicle crash.
The results of these tests, along with information about safety features for each model year, can be found at www.Safercar.gov. Also look for the "Buying a Safer Car" guide on the bottom of the home page.
Question: Does the Web site have instructions on how to install a car seat?
Answer: Safercar.gov has the instructions you need to safely install a car seat. Simply visit the home page and click on the "Latch" icon on the left side under the "Become a Safer Driver" tab.
Question: How do I know if my customer's tires are in good condition?
Answer: Because tires may naturally lose air over time, it's important to check tire pressure on all tires, including your spare, at least once a month. To get an accurate reading, measure tire pressure when the tires are "cold," meaning when the vehicle has not been driven for at least three hours.
Underinflated tires and overloaded vehicles are the leading causes of tire failure. Always inflate your tires to the recommended tire pressure on the vehicle's tire information label.
Tires should be replaced when the tread wears down to 2/32 (or 1/16) of an inch. Tires also have built-in tread wear indicators, or "wear bars," that let you know when the tread reaches this mark. You can also use a Lincoln penny to test your tire tread. Simply turn the penny so that Lincoln's head is pointing down - and insert it into the tread. If you can see all of Lincoln's head, it's time to replace your tires.
Potential Safety-Related Defects and Recalls
Question: What is a potential safety-related defect?
Answer: A potential safety-related defect is defined as a problem that exists in a motor vehicle or piece of motor vehicle equipment that poses a risk to motor vehicle safety. These defects may exist in a group of vehicles of the same design or manufacturer, or items of equipment of the same type and manufacturer. For example, accelerator controls that break or stick qualifies as a safety defect. However, something like a radio that does not operate properly would not count as a safety defect.
Question: How do you report a potential safety-related defect?
Answer: If you suspect that a customer has a defective vehicle or vehicle part, there are several ways that you can report this information to NHTSA: Visit the www.Safercar.gov home page and click on the "File a Complaint" link. Follow the instructions and complete the Vehicle Owner Questionnaire (VOQ) form. You also can file a complaint using NHTSA's Vehicle Safety Hotline: (888) 327-4236
Question: Why is it important to report a defect?
Answer: Vehicle defects can be deadly and they need to be recognized and corrected quickly to keep our roads safe. Submitting a report can help determine whether a vehicle needs to be recalled and helps the government assess if there is a larger issue with the vehicle fleet. Even if a recall campaign isn't necessary, it will let the manufacturer know about the issue.
Question: Where can I find additional information on recalls and other vehicle safety issues?
Answer: Both the hotline and the agency's www.Safercar.gov Web site are designed to make it faster and easier for you to file a safety-related complaint with NHTSA. However, both also serve as important sources of information about recalled vehicles, recalled equipment such as child safety seats, and ongoing safety defect investigations.
Crash Tests and Rollover Ratings
Question: Who assigns the Government 5-Star Safety Ratings?
Answer: NHTSA is responsible for setting the standards, conducting and releasing the Government 5-Star Safety Ratings. For more information, visit www.Safercar.gov.
Question: What is the Government 5-Star Safety Ratings system?
Answer: The Government 5-Star Safety Ratings system provides consumers with vehicle safety information, primarily front, side, rollover and crash prevention technology ratings to aid them in their vehicle purchase decisions. Each year, NHTSA tests new cars, light trucks, sport utility vehicles and vans, and the vehicles are then rated on how well they protect drivers and passengers during front and side crashes and during rollover tests using a five-star vehicle rating system.
Five stars indicate the highest safety rating and one star the lowest safety rating. Although it is impossible to determine how well a vehicle protects drivers and passengers in all types of crashes, star ratings are a useful basis for comparing vehicle safety.
Question: What is the goal of the Government 5-Star Safety Ratings?
Answer: The ultimate goal of the rating system is to improve occupant safety by providing market incentives for vehicle manufacturers to voluntarily design their vehicles to better protect occupants in a crash and be less susceptible to rollover, rather than by regulatory directives.
Question: How does NHTSA choose vehicles to rate? How long has NHTSA been rating vehicles?
Answer: NHTSA has rating data going all the way back to 1979. Every year the agency chooses new vehicles that best represent what is actually being purchased in the marketplace. These vehicles are purchased from dealerships across the country, just as the consumer would. The vehicles are not supplied directly to NHTSA by the manufacturer, which is a common misconception.
Question: Are there different types of ratings?
Answer: Yes, there is a frontal crash test rating, a side test rating and a rollover rating.
Question: How do crash tests work?
Answer: Vehicles with crash test dummies buckled in the driver and front passenger seats are crashed into a fixed barrier at 35 mph. This crash test is equivalent to a head-on collision between two identical vehicles, each moving at 35 mph. Instruments measure the force of impact to each dummy's head, chest and legs. The resulting information indicates a belted person's chances of incurring a serious injury in the event of a crash. A serious injury is one that may be life-threatening and requires immediate
Question: Are airbags dangerous?
Answer: Side-impact airbag (SAB) technology has advanced rapidly in recent years. It offers additional protection to two main areas of the body - the head and the chest - during side-impact crashes. Side airbags can provide significant safety benefits to adults in side-impact crashes.
NHTSA estimates that if all the vehicles on U.S. roads were equipped with head protection side airbags, 700 to 1,000 lives would be saved per year in side-impact crashes. NHTSA also estimates that in side-impact crashes involving at least one fatality, nearly 60 percent of those killed have suffered brain injuries.
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