Many Tennessee consumers put the time in when buying a new car. This means not only talking to friends and car dealers about the pros and cons of specific vehicles, but also doing some research through the New Car Assessment Program. The NCAP is most well-known for its five-star safety ratings.
However, looking to the future, the NCAP is considering updating their system to include a "silver" rating for older drivers and a "family" rating for those with children. The idea is that these two types of ratings would further help the consumer in making an informed decision before buying a vehicle.
For example, when it comes to buying a vehicle, those with children are often interested in the type of protection offered not only to front seat passengers, but also to passengers in the back seat. Essentially, parents want their children to be safe in the back seat if there is a car accident. With this new rating, parents would be able to see what the crashworthiness rating is for a specific type of family vehicle.
Older drivers, who are increasing in population, also have different needs than the average 20-year-old driver. For example, a technology to prevent hitting the wrong pedal at slow speeds is something many drivers age 65 and older are interested in. Those vehicles with these types of technologies, among others, may be something that would give a vehicle a "silver" rating and let an older consumer know this vehicle has been rated as being safer for them.
Of course though, there is one thing about having these ratings, and quite another to get the consumer to consult the NCAP or to look for a vehicle specific to their needs. Additionally, many drivers older than age 65 do not want to be associated with buying a car that is for older people.
Looking to the future, these "family" and "silver" ratings are not set in stone. The ratings were proposed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to the NCAP. If these proposals are approved, it would still take three or four years for the ratings system to be updated.