Safety advocates and the federal government would like to see collision avoidance systems become standard safety equipment in future vehicles. These systems which warn drivers about unseen hazards, and in some cases may even automatically hit the brakes would join seat belts and air bags as commonplace safety equipment in all new vehicles.
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) recently announced that the federal government should require these safety systems as standard in all new cars and commercial vehicles. Many of these systems are already available but mainly in luxury vehicles.
The NTSB believes that now is the time for the federal government to require these systems in all new cars being put on the road. They claims that the "full life-saving and crash-avoidance potential will not be realized" until the government requires these systems and sets up federal standards for the performance of collision avoidance technology.
Experts believe that hundreds of lives could be saved and injuries could be reduced by the hundreds of thousands, if these technologies were implemented. Collision avoidance would help prevent drivers from running off the road, being involved in rear end collisions as well as side lane departures.
The NTSB requested the change to federal regulations in it "Most Wanted List" of transportation safety improvements. Six out of the 10 issues on the list are concerned with highway travel. The board has shifted their focus to people who are fatally injured on the nations roadways.
Another key focus is the rising number of distracted drivers on the highways and roads. As cell phones and texting has proliferated the number of distracted driving cases have skyrocketed.
While updating the list the NTSB removed fatigue, which was one of the first conditions put on the list back in 1990. The board feels that this condition has been addressed and is no longer relevant.
While the NTSB is an independent agency and has no control over federal law, it does make recommendations to the public, industry and governments. It uses its "Most Wanted" list as its own personal soapbox to help bring about change in the transportation industry. They believe that collision avoidance technology could also help with distracted driving as well as fatigue as the system would alert the driver if they departed their lane due to fatigue or distraction.
Specifically, the board endorsed lane departure systems. These systems alert drivers with a visual or audible warning if a car starts to drift out of their lane when the turn signal is not used. They are also in favor of automatic braking, adaptive cruise control and electronic stability control. It has endorsed speed-limiting technology as well as tire pressure monitoring.
The NTSB is calling for the Federal government to require all new vehicles to be equipped with collision avoidance technology such as lane departure warnings as well as focusing on distracted driving issues.
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