Government agency wants safer vehicles

If the recommendations of the National Transportation Safety Board are followed, motorists in Washington and other parts of the country may soon be driving vehicles that feature special sensors to reduce the incidence of collisions. These systems could include rear-mounted and forward-facing monitors that do everything from helping drivers apply brakes to providing warnings that collisions are about to occur. The NTSB says that more than 80 percent of rear-end collisions that cause injuries and fatalities could become less dangerous if new vehicles had such devices.

In a 60-page report released in early June, NTSB officials once again offered their opinion that collision-avoidance mechanisms should be standard in all new commercial and passenger vehicles. When confronted with the idea that this may significantly increase purchase costs for new car buyers, the NTSB chairman pointed to the example of seat belts to illustrate the point that drivers shouldn’t have to pay extra for potentially life-saving equipment.

A trade group for automakers has said that consumers should have the choice whether or not to purchase vehicles with the additional safety hardware. Nonetheless, NTSB officials have pressed forward, noting that only four 2014-model-year vehicles actually offered standard collision avoidance systems. The agency has suggested that the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration should begin including collision-avoidance technology ratings in its current safety scale for new vehicles.

Changing vehicle safety standards may reduce the incidence of collisions, but they can’t prevent them completely. When people are injured in car accidents caused by another driver, they often incur significant medical expenses and are unable to work for prolonged periods. In the event that the accident was caused by another driver who was inattentive or otherwise negligent, an injured victim may wish to confer with a personal injury lawyer to see what methods for pursuing compensation may be advisable.

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