The federal government would improve its automobile crash tests and strengthen its five-star vehicle safety rating system under a plan unveiled this week by U.S. Transportation Secretary Mary E. Peters at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. Under the New Car Assessment Program (NCAP), vehicles will be subjected to more stringent rollover, frontal and side crash tests. Secretary Peters added that the new proposal could include, for the first time, ratings for crash avoidance technologies like electronic stability control, adaptive cruise control and lane departure warning systems. The NCAP proposal lays out short and long-term strategies to not only improve overall vehicle safety, but to provide better, more useful information to help consumers make more informed decisions when they buy cars, trucks, or SUVs. Each year, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) performs rollover and crash tests on new cars and trucks and assigns them with a safety rating. Five stars is the top rating. Today, 95 percent of new cars received the top ratings in crash tests. To view the full report, or for further information on the current NCAP program, visit