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NTSB Recommends Collision Avoidance Technology be Made Standard on All New Vehicles
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) issued a press release on June 8 recommending collision avoidance technology become standard on all new vehicles – both passenger and commercial. The release announced the publication of an NTSB investigative report titled, “The Use of Forward Collision Avoidance Systems to Prevent and Mitigate Rear-End Crashes.”
As you might imagine, companies in the commercial vehicle industry are less than thrilled with the NTSB’s recommendations.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, rear-end vehicle accidents result in the deaths of approximately 1,700 people per year. In its release, the NTSB stated that more than 80 percent of those fatalities could be avoided if all vehicles are equipped with collision avoidance system.
The NTSB reported that not only should manufacturers make these systems standard in all new vehicles, they should also consider adding automatic emergency braking once standards for those types of systems are established.
The release points out that the NTSB has made 12 recommendations over the last two decades urging the installation of forward collision avoidance systems in vehicles, but progress has been extremely limited. In fact, only four passenger vehicle models out of 684 in 2014, the board reports, came with this type of system standard. In many instances these systems are bundled with non-safety features that make the overall package quite costly.
“You don’t pay extra for your seatbelt,” said NTSB Chairman Christopher A. Hart in the release. “And you shouldn’t have to pay extra for technology that can help prevent a collision altogether.”
Many in the commercial vehicle industry oppose the NTSB recommendations, arguing that it would take years to phase in collision avoidance technology and would also add to the sticker price of new vehicles.
This article in the trucking industry magazine Land Line adopts the strategy of questioning the reliability of collision avoidance systems. For instance, it points out that forward-facing radar systems are unable to detect non-metallic objects, such as animals or people.
Ryan Bowley, a representative of the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, was quoted by Land Line as saying, “NTSB’s recent advocacy efforts in this area are largely silent about the limitations of the systems today and in the future.”
It’s Time to End the Carnage
More than 4,000 people died in crashes involving trucks and buses in 2012, and about 126,000 were hurt. We have represented scores of people whose lives were tragically altered due to this type of accident, resulting in either a debilitating injury or the loss of a loved one. If the NTSB believes collision avoidance technology can help reduce those numbers, we are all for their recommendations – supposed limitations and all.