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NTSB drives Congress to propose NHTSA ratings with collision avoidance

NTSBOn June 8, a report issued by the National Transportation Safety Board strongly suggested that collision avoidance systems be standard on vehicles and be rated by NHTSA. Two days later, members of congress are sponsoring a bill to add collision avoidance to NHTSA star ratings.

The NTSB report outlines the life-saving benefits of available collision avoidance systems, and recommends that the technology become standard on all new passenger and commercial vehicles. NTSB also recommends that NHTSA develop tests and standards in order to rate the performance and to incorporate those results into an expanded NCAP 5-star safety rating scale.

“You don’t pay extra for your seatbelt,” said NTSB Chairman Christopher A. Hart. “And you shouldn’t have to pay extra for technology that can help prevent a collision altogether.”

The Safety Through Informed Consumers Act (STICRS) Act, S. 1535, will require the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to integrate active safety technology into its crash worthiness rating system, scoing any features like collision warning and automatic emergency braking, that can help avoid that crash in the first place. U.S. Senators Dean Heller (R-NV) and Edward Markey (D-MA) joined with U.S. Representatives Todd Rokita (R-IN) and Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) to plan to introduce the bill.

The 5-Star Safety Ratings System was created by the NHTSA to provide consumers with information about the crash protection and rollover safety of new vehicles. The program encourages manufacturers to voluntarily design safer vehicles by giving them safety ratings that can be used by consumers to compare vehicles when shopping for a new car. The safety ratings are posted on the window stickers required to be displayed on all new vehicles.

Innovative and safety technologies, such as lane departure warning, forward collision warning, blind spot detection, and assisted breaking, are rapidly being developed, improved, and deployed on new automobiles. These types of technologies can save lives by preventing accidents altogether. The sponsors of the STICRS legislation believe it is important that consumers are aware of this available vehicle safety technology.