NTSB Urges Collision Avoidance Systems to Prevent Rear-End Collisions

Imagine this: after braving the crowded shopping mall in search of summer sales, you’re back in your car and about to pull out to head home for dinner. You check your rear view mirror, see that your path is clear and begin to reverse. As you back up, an impatient driver goes speeding past and you narrowly avoid hitting the other car and causing a car accident. If the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has its way, your car would’ve automatically braked after providing a warning noise to alert you of an impending car accident.

On June 8, 2015, the NTSB released a report recommending that automakers make standard equipment that would automatically brake or warn drivers of an impending rear-end collision in all new cars and commercial trucks. The report argued that by making forward collision avoidance systems, which is currently an optional feature in vehicles, a standard in all vehicles, the systems could prevent over 80 percent of rear-end collisions.

Collision Avoidance Systems

Generally, collision avoidance systems are able to use sensors to detect whether a crash with another vehicle is imminent. If detected, the system would either alert the driver or automatically engage the brakes of the car. Often times, the collision avoidance systems are offered as an optional upgrade in high-end vehicles. In certain circumstances, the systems are bundled with non-safety features like heated seats and leather interiors resulting in the overall increase in pricing for the vehicle, which may deter many safety-minded purchasers.

According to the NTSB’s report, an estimated 1.7 million rear-end crashes occur each year in the U.S. Around 1,700 people are killed each year and 500,000 are injured as a result of rear-end collisions. Although the NTSB has recommended implementing collision avoidance systems to car manufacturers many times over the past 20 years, the auto industry has been slow to implement their recommendation. According to the report, the automatic braking system was offered as a standard feature in only four of 684 passenger car models in 2014 (three SUVs and one mid-sized sedan).

In support of the collision avoidance systems, NTSB Chairman Christopher Hart likened the systems to seatbelts by arguing that “you don’t pay extra for your seatbelt… and you shouldn’t have to pay extra for technology that can help prevent a collision.” Unsurprisingly, the Vice President of Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers issued a statement in favor of keeping the systems optional and framing the debate as a matter of consumer choice.

At the moment it appears unlikely that NTSB’s recommendation will gain much traction with the auto manufacturing industry as a whole similar to its recommendation in the past. As technology improves and the associated costs, it is possible that certain manufacturers will take the initiative to implement the collision avoidance technology as a standard feature in all of their models. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety Highway Loss Data Institute, crash avoidance technologies are not absolute as many features currently on the market rely on drivers to take action. The effectiveness of some systems depends on whether the driver is able to understand the system and react accordingly in time. Additionally, warnings from the systems may be distracting or confusing to some drivers that may not be accustomed to the system. Other limitations include certain speeds for systems to work, detection in inclement weather, sensor issues, or reliance on GPS maps.

Call a Personal Injury Attorney Today

While vehicle safety technology has been improving, it is still not absolute in preventing car accidents. If you or a loved one has recently been involved in a rear-end collision accident and suffered an injury due to someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to monetary damages. Contact the experienced attorneys at Romero Law Firm in Florida to discuss your case. Auto insurance agents offering compensation are interested in settling for the smallest amount possible and may not be acting in your best interests. We are ready to fight on your behalf to help you recover what’s due to you. Don’t hesitate! Call 877-ROMERO-1 today to set up your free, no-obligation consultation.

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