NHTSA Adds Automatic Braking to Safety Checklist

safety features

Two automatic emergency braking systems are getting a nod of approval from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration and will be added to the recommended list of safety features under the New Car Assessment Program (NCAP).

Specifically, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is recommending that future vehicles come equipped with crash imminent braking and dynamic brake support. In the agency’s view, the first system begins slowing a model automatically when front crash sensors believe a collision is imminent. Alternatively, the latter technology applies supplemental braking if the driver isn’t slowing enough to avoid an accident.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx calls it an “enormous leap” in the evolution of auto safety.  “I want this Department, the entire automotive industry, and other innovators to keep raising the bar on safety like we are doing now,” Foxx said.

Ok, it’s a move in the right direction, but note, the addition of the two braking systems does not make them mandatory features that must be included by automakers.

“This would not affect the crash rating nor does it mandate they be included on all vehicles, but it would be noted on our site whether the vehicle included it or not,” said DOT spokesperson Catherine Howden. Instead, the idea is to encourage buyers to consider the electronics in a purchase, and automakers may make the tech more widely available now.

The recommended safety list also includes forward collision warning, lane departure warning and rearview cameras.

Insurance Institute for Highway Safety now requires automatic braking technology for a model to earn a Top Safety Pick + rating and the tech is a must to score five stars in the Euro NCAP crash test.

Adding the crash avoidance systems grew out of the DOT’s desire to revise its NCAP standards to keep improving driver safety. This might not be the end of the changes either. “NCAP is a critical tool for enhancing safety, so we are also looking at additional innovations to the program to capitalize on this exciting period of progress in safety technology,” said NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind.

Photo Credit: Volvo
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