Tesla recently claimed that the Model S is the safest car ever tested by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) receiving a score of 5.4. Tesla further claimed the Model S broke the testing machine that tested its roof strength. Tesla says that what this means is that you can place 5 Model S’ on top of another without the roof caving in. Since Tesla’s claims, the NHTSA has released a statement explaining that they do not give a ratings of higher than 5 and that they do not have any record of the testing equipment breaking. This of course lead to talk that Tesla has lied about the safety of its cars, or at least exaggerated. However the NHTSA statements do not necessarily contradict Tesla’s claims.
First, because the NHTSA does not ‘ultimately’ bestow a score higher than 5, does not mean that a vehicle's raw score could not be higher than 5.