Terms & Technologies

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)


This agency of the U.S. Department of Transportation carries out safety programs, conducts research on traffic safety and driver behavior, sets and enforces vehicle safety standards, and provides consumer information on a variety of motor-vehicle safety topics. Among its most public activities are the NCAP (New Car Assessment Program) and Side Impact Occupant Protection crash tests. Using advanced crash dummies, these tests measure the likelihood and extent of trauma on humans. Ratings are based on a one- to five-star system, with five stars indicating the highest score.