WASHINGTON, D.C. — In a report released on Monday, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) outlines what it calls the “life-saving benefits” of collision avoidance systems and recommends that the technology become standard on all new passenger and commercial vehicles.
“You don’t pay extra for your seat belt,” NTSB Chairman Christopher Hart said. “And you shouldn’t have to pay extra for technology that can help prevent a collision altogether.”
NTSB’s special investigation report, The Use of Forward Collision Avoidance Systems to Prevent and Mitigate Rear-End Crashes, emphasizes that collision avoidance systems can prevent or lessen the severity of rear-end crashes, thus saving lives and reducing injuries.
According to statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), rear-end crashes kill about 1,700 people every year and injure half a million more. NTSB officials said that more than 80% of these deaths and injuries might have been mitigated if the vehicles had been equipped with a collision avoidance system.
Only four out of 684 passenger vehicle models in 2014 included a complete forward collision avoidance system as a standard feature. According to NTSB, when these systems are offered as options, they are often bundled with other non-safety features, making the overall package more expensive.
“The promise of a next generation of safety improvements has been used too often to justify inaction,” Hart said. "Because there will always be better technologies over the horizon, we must be careful to avoid letting perfection become the enemy of the good."
In the report, NTSB recommends that manufacturers make collision avoidance systems standard equipment in newly manufactured vehicles, beginning with collision warning systems, and adding autonomous emergency braking once NHTSA completes standards for such braking systems.
Also, NTSB recommends that NHTSA develop tests and standards to rate the performance of each vehicle’s collision avoidance systems and to incorporate those results into an expanded NCAP (New Car Assessment Program) five-star safety rating scale.
NTSB also issued a companion safety alert for consumers and commercial fleet owners that urges them to consider vehicles with collision warning and autonomous emergency braking functions.
Watch Hart’s statement on collision avoidance systems here: