The National Transportation Safety Board has issued a statement calling for the inclusion of collision avoidance systems as the standard in all vehicles, regardless of luxury status. They recommend that it become a standard system in all new passenger and commercial vehicles. The statement specifically cited the dangers of rear-end crashes and pointed out how mandatory collision avoidance systems in all vehicles could reduce driver injury and fatality numbers in rear-end collisions.
Although the NTSB has made a dozen recommendations to manufacturers within the past 20 years, progress has been very slow due to limited public awareness, and manufacturers claiming that collision avoidance technology on a widespread scale has not reached perfection yet. “The promise of a next generation of safety improvements has been used too often to justify inaction,” says NTSB Chairman Christopher Hart. “Because there will always be better technologies over the horizon, we must be careful to avoid letting perfection become the enemy of the good.” Other groups such as the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers claim that keeping avoidance systems optional is more helpful to customers because adding extra mandatory equipment would raise the cost of vehicles, and with the wide range of available amenities, it is up to the driver to decide what they need.
In 2014, only 4 out of 684 passenger vehicles contained collision avoidance features such as a collision warning system and autonomous emergency braking, and they were often bundled into packages with non-safety features that consumers had to pay extra for. “You don’t pay extra for your seatbelt,” stated Chairman Christopher A. Hart. “And you shouldn’t have to pay extra for technology that can help prevent a collision altogether.” The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that rear-end collisions kill just under 2,000 people every year, with injuries reaching upwards of half a million.
In their statement, the NTSB recommended the development of tests and standards to rate vehicle collision avoidance system’s performance, with inclusion in the NCAP 5-star safety rating scale. According to the report, more than 80% of collisions could be mitigated with mandatory collision avoidance equipment. It has also issued a Safety Alert for consumers and commercial fleet owners to consider vehicles with a collision avoidance system.
Slack & Davis’ product liability attorneys have handled many cases involving negligence by manufacturers. If you or a loved one have fallen victim to a company’s inability to properly address product safety issues, call us today.