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Auto Safety In The Spotlight

Technology has played a large role in reducing the number of people who die each year in car accidents. Cars equipped with air bags, anti lock brakes, and other safety features represent huge advances over cars from a few decades ago. Some technology works without any action by the driver or passengers. Other measures, such as seat belts, child safety seats and booster seats require drivers and passengers to participate in keeping themselves safe. If the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has its way, a new form of technology may be joining the list in keeping cars safer.

Forward collision warning systems have been included on some higher end vehicles for some time. More affordable vehicles have recently seen the technology included as well. The NHTSA is recommending that these systems be a part of the five-star crash test rating guidelines released by the government. Those ratings have a substantial impact on consumer behavior and could soon make forward collision warning systems standard in virtually every passenger vehicle sold. 

The NHTSA is touting systems that typically come with two features that can help prevent an auto accident. First, they are capable of applying the brakes without driver assistance if the system senses an impending collision. Second, the systems can increase the force of the braking if the driver is not pressing hard enough. More passive versions of the system simply warn drivers of the potential for a collision and rely on the driver to take corrective action.

Source: Kicking Tires, "NHTSA Spotlight Could Hasten Spred of Auto-Braking Systems," by Kelsey Mays, 23 January 2015 

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