U.S. regulators to rate new auto tech, but Europe leads in safety testing

The acting head of the U.S. vehicle safety regulator said on Wednesday that his agency would make changes this year to a testing program that assigns safety grades to new and future vehicles.

“We’re raising the bar for safety technologies in our new vehicles,” said acting National Highway Traffic Safety Administration chief James Owens.

NHTSA in December 2015 issued proposed rulemaking for testing procedures that would be similar to more comprehensive testing done by European regulators.

No rules have been put forward since then, however, and Owens’ comments came a day after the NTSB sharply criticized NHTSA for its hands off approach to overseeing semi-automated driving technology. The NTSB, an independent U.S. government agency, also compared NHTSA’s testing and ratings unfavorably to consumer safety systems put in place by European agencies.