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'Stars on Cars' Bill Would Put Safety Ratings on New Vehicles

January 26, 2004

Stickers on the windows of new cars soon could sport information designed to save drivers' lives: the car's crash-test ratings, according to the Detroit News.Sen. Mike DeWine, an Ohio Republican, introduced a package of bills Jan. 23 aimedat reducing the No. 1 cause of deaths for Americans 4 to 34 -- car crashes. His bills also would mandate clearer "birth" dates for tires, push safety groups to use more child-sized dummies in crash tests, and require states to rank and publicize their most dangerous roads and intersections, according to the News. "It might mean you tell your 16-year-old daughter: 'Don't drive on that road,' " said DeWine, a father of eight.The centerpiece of DeWine's package is the Stars on Cars bill, the News said. It would require that stickers on new cars -- the ones that show gas mileage, base price, standardequipment -- show the car's crash-test ratings, which are expressed as a grade of one to five stars.Those scores are available on the Internet or in Consumer Reports. "But they're not available in the dealer's showroom, the one place where you most need that information," DeWine said.Car makers said Jan. 23 they would work with DeWine on the bill but didn't endorse it. "There's not much space left on that sticker," said Eron Shosteck, a spokesman forthe Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers. And with crash-test ratings available for seven different categories from rollover to frontpassenger, "there's the potential for information overload, and that could lead to being ignored by consumers, which is not good for anybody," Shosteck said, according to the News.
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