Worldwide NCAP rankings are about to give a bonus for safety systems which prevent an impact, instead of just rating a car's performance in crash tests.
The new deal begins with Euro NCAP, which says it will announce its first list of 'reward system' winners at the Paris Motor Show at the end of September.
Among the technological advantages to be rewarded are lane departure warning, blind spot monitoring, attention assist, autonomous braking and emergency call, which are becoming more and more common with upscale makers including Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Volvo.
Euro NCAP admits some systems are so new there is no existing standard to assess them, so it is developing its own rating system.
"Euro NCAP Advanced aims to provide car buyers with clear guidance about the safety benefits which these new technologies offer them and their families," says Michiel van Ratingen, secretary general of Euro NCAP. "With these rewards Euro NCAP will add a new dimension to its mission. Collectively we can make another step forward in effectively reducing traffic fatalities and injuries on European roads."
Euro NCAP says the new 'reward system' does not supersede its existing star ratings, which are almost identical to the system used by NCAP in Australia, but adds to it. It has already expanded its five-star scale with points for pedestrian protection, child occupant protection and systems including active head restraints to cut the incidence of whiplash.
"Cars are eligible for a Euro NCAP Advanced reward only if they have already achieved a creditable three star rating in the overall rating scheme," says van Ratingen.