According to a report released by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), automobile manufacturers should immediately begin installing collision avoidance systems in all new vehicles that will automatically stop the vehicles or warn drivers of a possible rear-end collision.
The collision avoidance systems could possibly lead to the prevention of over 80 percent of rear-end collision cases, which cause around 1,700 fatalities and half a million injuries per year. In the United States, there around 1.7 million reported cases of rear-end collision per year.
Some of the collision avoidance systems used by car manufacturers provide a warning to the driver if collision is on course, but do not cause the vehicle to automatically stop. The NTSB recommends that car companies should create a standard for the warning system, and also include automatic braking after a standard for the feature is completed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
The NTSB has called for the adoption of collision avoidance systems several times over the previous two decades, but the agency's report revealed that progress has been very limited. Only four out of the 684 passenger vehicle models that were released last year featured automatic braking systems, specifically the Mercedes-Benz G Class SUV, the mid-sized Subaru Legacy and the Subaru Forester and Outback SUVs.
The collision avoidance systems, when offered as part of an add-on package usually for high-end vehicles such as models of Lexus, Infiniti and Cadillac, are typically bundled along with non-safety add-ons such as interior upgrades, which drive up the cost for acquiring the safety system.
"You don't pay extra for your seatbelt," said Christopher Hart, the chairman of the NTSB. "And you shouldn't have to pay extra for technology that can help prevent a collision."
The NTSB also recommended for standardized tests to gauge the performance of the collision avoidance systems of car manufacturers and to incorporate the results of such tests into a wider safety rating system by the government on vehicles.
However, the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers believes that such technology should continue to be optional for customers.
According to Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers VP Gloria Bergquist, consumers should be allowed to decide the driver assist systems that they require. There are many different kinds of driver assist systems in the market, and customers could need a parking assist system or a 360-degree camera more than a collision avoidance system.