I'm certainly not one to think that the government does anything well. Social Security, taxes, and health care are great examples of the government's failures.
However, when it comes to car safety information, while not perfect, they do a pretty good job in storing and reporting information. The government has always taken transportation safety seriously and their website Safercar.gov holds a wealth of information on recalls, safety problems, and defect investigations.
It also gives advice on that child's car seat you may need to buy or install properly or on the tires you need to replace and even on that airbag thing that's supposedly tucked away beneath the dash.
The NHTSA or National Health Transportation and Safety Administration is the government group that established and tests automobiles for their 5-Star Ratings program each year. You may have seen the testing on TV where they show a car, SUV, or truck with a test dummy being driven into a wall and crumpling. Based on the results of the various tests, they rate a vehicle on a scale of 1 to 5 stars where one is the worst and 5 is the best.
Some of the main categories tested are frontal crash, side crash, rollover, belt and head restraints, airbag, and driving safety. It's not just for new cars either. The database which is very easy to use, has information on vehicles going back as far as 1990. The further you go back in time though, the less information you'll find so there isn't much information on the 1990 Toyota Cressida. Toyota what ?
I tried to launch some video of the actual crash testing for fun but, just as I praise the government for doing something well I get this message when clicking on the video tab:
"All National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) web sites are currently undergoing scheduled maintenance.
This may cause temporary problems when trying to access these pages.
We apologize for any inconvenience and encourage you to try accessing the page at a later date."
So there you have it, some good, and some bad I guess when it comes to the government. The website overall though is a great repository of useful information and should be part of any car buyer's information source when considering the purchase of a new or used vehicle.
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