The leaps and bounds being made in driver assistance technology over the past few years has been tremendous across the automotive industry. But how effective is all this technology in preventing crashes? That’s a question the American Automobile Association hopes can be better answered with updates to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration’s New Car Assessment Program.
In a recent post about new vehicle technology, Greg Brannon, AAA’s Director of Automotive Engineering and Industry Relations, talks about the organization's concerns about driver assistance technology providing a false sense of security for drivers. Brannon also says AAA is urging the NHTSA to adopt some proposed changes that would include evaluating driver assistance technology, and modernize a system that hasn’t seen updates since 2011.
The article stems from a proposal recently put forth by The Alliance for Automotive Innovation, a group made up of automakers and other industry leaders. The group met in April to discuss and recommend updates to the NHTSA’s 5-star crash test rating program. Both long-term and near-term solutions are suggested in the “Plan to Advance Safety at the Speed of Innovation” report which you can read here . Proposed updates to the NCAP rating system include evaluating the following technologies:
- Forward Collision Warning/ Automatic Emergency Braking
- Pedestrian Automatic Emergency Braking
- Lane Departure Warning (LDW)
- Lane Departure Warning with intervention/Lane Keep Assist
- Automatic High Beam Headlamps/High Beam Assist
AAA’s Brannon says it is urging the NHTSA to adopt those recommended updates that will modernize its program.
“We commend and support the Alliance’s efforts and urge NHTSA to strongly consider implementing the proposed plan. The advancement of vehicle technology will not slow down anytime soon and it is imperative that safety standards catch up. Federal Motor Vehicles Safety Standards take too long to modernize, so the proposal to move NCAP forward faster is the right one in this environment. In addition, these can be harmonized with European NCAP testing standards, thus reducing the burden on automakers to design for different tests. Consumers rely on and trust this information, so it is critically important for it to be accurate and include testing of all systems.”
- Greg Brannon, AAA Director of Automotive Engineering and Industry Relations
Brannon says AAA is also concerned that driver assistance technology like automatic emergency braking and lane keeping assistance, designed to prevent or lessen the severity of a crash, may create a false sense of security for drivers. AAA says through its own research, it’s found that many of these advanced driver assistance systems don’t always work as intended.
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety currently includes front crash prevention evaluation in its Top Safety Pick+ crash test assessment program, along with headlight evaluation. You can read more about current NHTSA and IIHS Crash Test programs in our previous post here.