Coined “Stars on Cars,” the idea of including ratings on window stickers (also known as Monroney labels) was hatched by Republican Sen. Mike DeWine of Ohio. Said DeWine, “Vital safety information needs to be accessible to the consumer when they need it most, at the dealership when purchasing decisions are made.” The ratings are currently available on NHTSA’s website, www.safercar.gov, but are often absent from the showroom floor.
The transportation bill calls for the new window stickers as soon as the 2007 model year, but one automaker, Honda, has taken the lead by voluntarily including the ratings on all of its 2006 model year vehicles. Every 2006 Honda and Acura car and light truck will prominently display front and side crash-test scores as well as rollover ratings.
Additional safety provisions in the bill include new rules for roof strength, to replace outdated standards originally set in the 1970s. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) will also develop a new way to conduct rollover testing and to propose new rules that would cut rollover fatalities by 2009. In response to limited incidents of child strangulation, regulations will require a redesign of power window switches to prevent activation by small children, and studies will be conducted to learn how to prevent back-over deaths (where kids are accidentally backed-over in driveways). Additionally, the effects of tire aging will be studied, 15-passenger vans will no longer be excluded from the list of vehicles to be crash tested, and door lock standards will be improved to further limit passenger ejection during collisions.