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
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
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.