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NTSB Recommends Forward Collision Avoidance Systems

Technology keeps improving the way we drive and how our cars alert us to potential dangers and collision points along the way. We have back-up cameras, systems that beep every time we get too close to the curb or the back of the garage, and automatic braking capabilities — all of which work together to keep us safe, even if our own reaction times are slower or compromised in any way. Now, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has recommended another feature to keep drivers safe: forward collision avoidance systems.

According to a recent investigative report, “The Use of forwarding Collision Avoidance Systems to Prevent and Mitigate Rear-End Crashes,” rear-end collisions are a leading cause of injury and damage for drivers.

Statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration show that every year, more than 1,700 people die and nearly half a million more suffer injuries as a result of rear-ended crashes. The NTSB’s report indicates that over 80 percent of these injuries and fatalities could have been prevented or mitigated if the vehicles had collision avoidance systems installed.

Who Should Pay for Safety Features?
Part of the NTSB’s investigation focuses on the affordability and availability of forwarding collision avoidance systems in today’s vehicles. As NTSB Chairman Christopher Hart says in the official 60-day report, consumers should not have to pay more money to benefit from life-saving features in their vehicles. Car companies do not consider seatbelts a luxury. Instead, seatbelts are an essential part of any car and accordingly, they do not charge buyers extra. The NTSB believes that collision avoidance systems should be handled in the same way.

In the last several years since the technology has made these systems possible, the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers has maintained that the decision to buy a car that had avoidance systems installed was up to the buyer and dealerships have offered vehicles with and without them at different price points.

Only four-passenger vehicles in the last year were made with complete forward collision avoidance systems included in the standard vehicle package, according to the NTSB’s report. Automatic braking is standard in the 2015 models of the Mercedes-Benz C Class, G Class, GLA class, and S class, the 760Li and the i8 from BMW, as well as every Volvo model.

The NTSB recommends that such car models become the norm, not a rarity, in the coming years. “Collision avoidance systems can prevent or lessen the severity of rear-end crashes, thus saving lives and reducing injuries,” the group said in their press release to promote the recommendation. For this reason, they urge auto manufacturers to include collision avoidance systems as standard features in all vehicles.

The NTSB hopes to start by making collision warning systems standard and then upgrading to autonomous emergency braking systems once the NHTSA has finalized standards for those features. They also hope that the NHTSA will begin to rate collision systems’ effectiveness and include those assessments on the 5-star rating scale.

At Levine Law, we represent anyone who has been injured in a car accident or collision. For more information, contact a Denver auto accident lawyer at our firm today.

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