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Vehicle safety ratings may be outdated

California consumers who are in the market for a new car often start their search by looking at a vehicle's safety rating. Vehicles are rated from one to five stars, and products that have higher safety ratings tend to be more desirable than those that have lower ones. Cars began to receive such ratings in the 1970s, and the current system was put into place in the 1990s.

However, there have been calls to increase the number of tests that are conducted and to include data obtained after a vehicle has been sold. In Europe, automakers conduct four times as many crash tests as they do in the United States. Officials in the United States have said that pedestrian detection system testing could be included in future ratings. They have also said that crash test dummies could be altered so that they more accurately represent drivers and passengers.

The information that could be used to determine how well a vehicle's safety features actually work can be gleaned from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System. Although the information can be hard for many people to understand, there may be ways to simplify it and put it into proper context. Currently, the database is free for anyone to access.

If a car crash occurs because of a defective vehicle component, the company that made the part could be a defendant in a personal injury lawsuit. The dealer that sold the car could also be liable for selling a defective product. An attorney may be able to help a person obtain compensation for lost wages, lost future earnings and current and future medical bills related to an accident caused by a negligent party.

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