NHTSA Says There's No Such Thing As An Over Five Star Rating

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Not long ago, Tesla Motors came under fire from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration after the automaker claimed to have achieved a safety rating of 5.4 stars, well beyond the five star maximum handed out by the safety agency.  The NHTSA took issue with their claim, saying that it simply wasn’t possible for a vehicle to rate above five stars.  It was yet another moment of potentially bad publicity for a company whose vehicles have been closely scrutinized following reports of fires associated with them.

In order to ensure that such claims won’t be made again, the NHTSA has explicitly said that auto companies will not be allowed to market their vehicles as having achieved a rating above five stars.  In doing, the NHTSA hopes to prevent persons in the market for an automobile from being misled as to the relative safety of their vehicles.

Since 1994, the NHTSA has been providing ratings to vehicle on a scale of one star to five stars.  Unlike movie reviewers, the agency is not willing to provide fractional scores, so you will never see a vehicle rated as 3.5 stars.

If automakers claim to get a rating of more than five stars, they could now face some type of regulatory action by the NHTSA, as the agency sees this as an example of the public being misled.