According to the NHTSA, the government wants to modernize the safety ratings program to keep pace with advancements in vehicle safety technology.
Safety advocates have long argued the government's crash test program hasn't kept pace with advancements in vehicle design even though NHTSA's safety program has influenced countries across the world.
The New Car Assessment Program will allegedly be updated in 2020 to include new test procedures, upgrades to test dummies and to rate technologies related to the safety of pedestrians.
NHTSA's current crash test ratings program typically awards new vehicles with overall four- or five-star safety ratings, making the buying choice more difficult for new car purchasers.
Making the tests more challenging and expanding the number of tested technologies should mean a more diverse rating system that provides consumers with safer vehicles.
NHTSA's crash testing is known by automakers as a simpler set of tests compared to those designed by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), but it's NHTSA's five-star ratings that appear on new car window stickers, known as Monroney labels.
According to the government, the new tests methods and the expansion of included technologies will be incentives for automakers to invest in technologies that will protect human lives.