The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, also known as NHTSA, has publicized their first lineup of 2011 model vehicles undergoing the government’s newly renovated 5-star safety rating program.

The NHTSA press release stated:

“In all, 24 passenger cars, 20 sport utility vehicles, two vans, and nine 2011 model year pickups will be rated under the new system that not only includes tougher crash tests, but, for the first time, provides consumers with a single overall safety score per vehicle.  The new testing program will also provide consumers with information about new advanced crash avoidance technologies, such as lane departure and forward collision warning systems.”

The ratings for the 55 vehicles undergoing the new NHTSA’s safety rating system will be posted on the agency’s future webpage: Once the new scores are posted drivers will be able to compare the new ratings with old ones as the rating criteria has changed. Challenging auto manufacturers to create safer vehicles the new standards have made it more difficult to obtain a high safety rating.

The stricter standards are to include new injury testing and a new side impact pole test that simulates wrapping a vehicle around a tree. The new testing will also require crash-test dummies and a frontal crash test that will look more closely at knee, hip and thigh injuries.

If you’re in the market for a 2011 vehicle keep an eye out for these new ratings to be published on the NHTSA’s website. For a list of first vehicles to be tested on the new standards visit the NHTSA’s website at: