The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) recently announced new ratings for 2011 model year vehicles under its enhanced 5-Star Safety Ratings System. New revisions to the DOT’s New Car Assessment Program include side pole crash tests, use of different-size test dummies, an Overall Ratings Score for frontal, side and rollover test results, and the listing of high-tech crash avoidance systems. To help avoid confusion at the point of sale, NADA has put together a few key points for dealers to emphasize when dealing with customers who have questions about changes to the Program:1. New Car Assessment Program (NCAP) scores for model year (MY) 2011 may be lower than for previous models of the same vehicles, but that does not mean they are less safe.2. NCAP scores for MY 2011 and later vehicles should not be compared to those for previous model years.3. Overall Ratings Scores reflect a weighted average of the three crash test results. All new vehicles are subject to rigorous Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards.4. The NCAP label will not be updated until MY 2012.5. Only 50 or so models are NCAP tested in a given model year. Test results are made public as they become available. For more information, please visit http://www.safercar.gov.