Tesla Motors is claiming automotive superlative: NHTSA crash tests prove Model S is the safest car on the road. NHTSA – the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is an agency of the Executive Branch of the U.S. government, part of the Department of Transportation. It describes its mission as “Save lives, prevent injuries, reduce vehicle-related crashes.” NHTSA’s activities provide today’s consumers with a great deal of auto safety information that was not generally available before the agency existed.
As part of its activities, NHTSA is charged with writing and enforcing Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards as well as regulations for motor vehicle theft resistance and fuel economy, the latter under the rubric of the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) system. NHTSA also licenses vehicle manufacturers and importers, allows or blocks the import of vehicles and safety-regulated vehicle parts, administers the vehicle identification number (VIN) system, develops the anthropomorphic dummies used in safety testing, as well as the test protocols themselves, and provides vehicle insurance cost information. The agency has asserted preemptive regulatory authority over greenhouse gas emissions, but this has been disputed by such state regulatory agencies as the California Air Resources Board.
Another of NHTSA’s major activities is the creation and maintenance of the data files maintained by the National Center for Statistics and Analysis. In particular, the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS), has become a resource for traffic safety research not only in the United States, but throughout the world. Research contributions using FARS by researchers from many countries appear in many non-U.S. technical publications, and provide a significant database and knowledge bank on the subject. Even with this database, conclusive analysis of crash causes often remains difficult and controversial, with experts debating the veracity and statistical validity of results.
NHTSA crash tests results for 2013 Tesla Model S:
- Overall: 5 stars
- Frontal Driver: 5 stars
- Frontal Passenger: 5 stars
- Side Driver: 5 stars
- Side Passenger: 5 stars
- Side Pole Driver: 5 stars
- Rollover: 5 stars
- 2013 World Green Car of the Year
- Automobile Magazine’s 2013 Car of the Year
- Motor Trend 2013 Car of the Year
- Popular Science’s Auto Grand Award Winner Best of What’s New list 2012
- Time Magazine Best 25 Inventions of the Year 2012 award
- Yahoo! Autos 2013 Car of the Year
- CNET Tech Car of the Year for 2012
- Green Car Reports’ Best Car To Buy 2013
- 2013 AutoGuide.com Reader’s Choice Car of the Year
- Natural Resources Canada 2013 EcoENERGY for Vehicles Awards in the full-size category
- Consumer Reports rated the Model S with a score of 99 out of 100, becoming the magazine’s best car ever tested. The score would have been higher but for the fact that the all-electric car does need to stop and recharge during extremely long-distance drives. “If it could recharge in any gas station in three minutes, this car would score about 110,” said Jake Fisher, head of auto testing for Consumer Reports. Fisher called the car’s performance in the magazine’s performance tests “off the charts.”