Ten major automakers have entered into an agreement to install automatic braking systems as a standard feature on new vehicles. This feature could significantly reduce serious injuries and deaths caused by vehicle accidents and cut automobile insurance claims by as much as 35 percent. This deal was announced by the U.S. Department of Transportation, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
What You Need to Know About the New Automatic Braking System
This automatic braking system uses sensors, radars, and lasers to detect when another vehicle is stopped ahead and warns the driver. If the driver does not react, the system will apply the brakes and stop, hopefully preventing a rear-end collision. Automobile companies that have agreed to the deal include:
- General Motors
- Mercedes Benz
These automakers represented 57 percent of new vehicle sales in 2014. They have agreed to work out details with the U.S. Department of Transportation and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which would include a timeline for mandating this new safety feature.
The government believes this technology represents a new era of auto safety with a goal of preventing accidents from occurring rather than attempting to protect motorists when crashes happen. It could be a major safety advancement, having an impact like seat belts, anti-lock brakes, and traction control.
Slow But Steady Progress Towards Improved Safety
This feature is already offered as an option on some mid-market vehicles at a cost of between $200 and $400. Given the relatively low cost of the option and the huge potential to save lives, it makes one wonder why all automakers are not agreeing to this.
This deal is an effort by the government to work out agreements with automakers rather than just mandating rules, unlike the recent Takata airbag recall. However, it could be some time before we see automatic braking systems offered on all vehicles as it requires expensive technology that some automakers have not developed yet. If a deadline to install this feature is not set, the government could set a rule on this because it wants the new braking system implemented as soon as possible.
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