NHTSA announces safety agreement with car makers

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has entered into an agreement with several vehicle manufacturers that will see virtually all cars, minivans, SUVs and pickup trucks sold in Louisiana and around the country equipped with sophisticated accident avoidance technology by 2022. The announcement was made by the federal agency on March 18 at a meeting in Virginia. The agreement is also supported by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

The NHTSA has been lobbying Congress for years to pass more stringent auto safety regulations, but observers feel that a voluntary agreement with car makers could see emerging technology finding finding its way into production vehicles faster than it would under a government mandate. The agreement has been signed by manufacturers including Chrysler Fiat, General Motors, Honda, Nissan, Toyota and Ford.

It calls for automatic braking systems to be fitted as standard to all passenger vehicles offered for sale in the United States. The technology uses data collected by radar and a battery of sensors to keep track of traffic conditions, and it applies the brakes automatically in an emergency. Safety advocates think that about a million car accidents could be prevented each year by the technology.

Automatic braking system are particularly adept at preventing rear-end crashes caused by fatigued, intoxicated or distracted drivers. Accidents caused by such driver negligence often cause catastrophic injuries, and those who suffer financial or physical damages due to the negligent actions of others may choose to pursue civil remedies. Legal actions brought on behalf of car accident victims often hinge on establishing a clear sequence of events, and personal injury attorneys may conduct investigations of their own when police reports are inconclusive.

Source: The Los Angeles Times, Automakers agree to make automatic braking a standard feature by 2022, James F. Peltz, March 17, 2016

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