The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has redone the way they test vehicles. The tests are more stringent and use a new concept called the Overall Vehicle Score, part of the federal government's New Car Assessment Program (NCAP). 2011 models are the first to be put through the tests, and it is meant to be a help to new car shoppers. The Overall Vehicle Score combines the results from frontal crash test, rollover-resistance tests, and side crash tests into a single rating, from one to five stars.
For the first time, crash test dummies are both male and female. Frontal crash safety tests now use a small female dummy in the front passenger seat and a male as normal in the driver's seat. Side-crash tests include the side-barrier test that has been used previously where a moving barrier hits a still car at an angle. Added to that is the new side-pole test where a moving vehicle hits a stationary pole. Again, for the first time female dummies are used and the dummy is in the back of the vehicle.
The 2011 Honda Accord Sedan has earned a 5 star rating as the Overall Vehicle Score, the best score a vehicle can possibly achieve. The Accord is one of just six vehicles to achieve the score, and the first to get five stars in all categories - rollover, side crash, and frontal crash.