NHTSA administrator David Strickland has told industry journal Automotive News that the administration's researchers are currently studying the small overlap crash test, which would make achieving a five-star safety rating more difficult for car makers.
“We are working right now on an offset or oblique test. I know that the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has a small overlap test, which is very similar,” Strickland said.
“We believe that we are going to promulgate a test which is going to replicate those small overlap crashes in a realistic way.”
The small overlap crash test sees the corner of a car’s front bumper impact an object, while the oblique crash collides a vehicle with an object at an angle.
Strickland said it would be some time before the tests were put in place, but insisted “we're very close on the research phase to actually get that compliance test done”.
In the IIHS test (video above), 25 per cent of a car's front end on the driver side makes contact with a five-foot-tall rigid barrier at 64km/h. Locally, the Australasian New Car Assessment Program's (ANCAP) crash tests include a side impact, pedestrian, pole, and frontal offset test – the latter seeing 40 per cent of a car’s front end on the driver’s side make contact with a crushable aluminium barrier at 64km/h.