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NTSB: Collision prevention technology should be standard

Arizona drivers may recall a 2012 report in which the National Transportation Safety Board called for the government to mandate that automakers implement collision-avoidance systems in new cars and trucks as a way of significantly mitigating the severity of injuries resulting primarily from rear-end collisions. In the years since, the federal agency has adamantly continued to press this stance, and it formally renewed its call for widespread implementation of these potentially life-saving systems June 8 in a 60-page report.

Collision-avoidance technology includes warning devices to prevent lane departures and forward collisions, electronic stability control and autonomous braking and steering systems. Citing rear-end collision statistics that show that these accidents injure around 500,000 individuals annually and kill approximately 1,700, the chairman of the agency condemned 'inaction" by automakers spurred by concerns about consumers picking up the costs of such technologies. The NTSB's report also credited a dearth of incentives and public awareness for automakers' hesitation to embrace such measures across the board.

The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers has traditionally maintained a stance that the choice to buy a vehicle equipped with collision-avoidance technology should ultimately rest with consumers. Drawing a parallel to seat belts, the NTSB chair suggested that automakers should shoulder the cost of life-saving technology rather than burdening car buyers with it.

While the NTSB estimates that collision-avoidance systems could lessen the severity of about 80 percent of rear-end collisions, thousands are still bound to happen. In many cases, they are caused by a distracted driver. A injured victim of such a collision may wish to speak with an attorney in order to determine whether the filing of a personal injury lawsuit based on the negligence of the driver is a viable method of obtaining compensation for the damages that have been sustained.

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