NTSB: Make Collision-Avoidance Systems Standard

The National Transportation Safety Board's 2013 Most Wanted safety list includes a recommendation for standard collision-avoidance systems on all cars, the first time the technology has made the agency's list.

To the board, systems like lane departure warning, forward collision warning, adaptive cruise control, automatic braking and blind spot alert are necessary to lowering accident and fatality rates. Many of these systems are available on vehicles, but the agency notes that they're rarely standard.

In making its case, NTSB cites research from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, which estimates that forward collision warning can prevent 879 fatal car crashes annually and lane departure warning can prevent 247 fatal crashes annually.

"The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration should establish performance standards where still needed and mandate that these technologies be included as standard equipment in cars and commercial motor vehicles alike. Their full life-saving and crash-avoidance potential will not be realized until supported by federal rulemaking and related standards," NTSB said in a statement.

The board's annual list is made up of transportation safety issues the agency says are needed to make the roads, skies and rails safer. It releases the list as a way to push transportation safety issues into the spotlight and spur regulatory change that could save lives.

"Transportation is safer than ever, but with 35,000 annual fatalities and hundreds of thousands of injuries, we can, and must, do better. The Most Wanted List is a roadmap to improving safety for all of our nation's travelers," NTSB Chairman Deborah A.P. Hersman said in a statement.

The 10 items on this year's list are below:

  • Improve safety of airport surface operations
  • Preserve the integrity of transportation infrastructure
  • Enhance pipeline safety
  • Implement positive train control systems
  • Eliminate substance-impaired driving
  • Improve the safety of bus operations
  • Eliminate distraction in transportation
  • Improve fire safety in transportation
  • Improve general aviation safety
  • Mandate motor vehicle collision avoidance technologies

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By Jennifer Geiger | November 14, 2012 | Comments (4)



Is there a convenient way on cars.com to search for which vehicles have these features available?


How about getting rid of red turn signals?
How about requiring that all CHMSL be LED based?
How about requiring lateral turn signal repeaters?
How about requiring combination amber park/turn signals to turn off the park filament when the turn signal is in operation (so the turn signal is more visible)?
How about requiring the rear, non-CHSML, brake lights to only have one function. No more combination tail/brake-again for easier recognition?
Standardizing the US rear fog light standard for 1 red light, not two.
Regulating the glare of the US front fog light, or just require them to be selective yellow.
Tighter spread of output for low beam headlights. 1250-2500 lumen. Then make the best of them. Current 35 watt HID headlights have too much light (the newer and cheaper 20 watt HIDs are perfect), and current legal wattage dual beam headlights are too weak.
Banning and recalling high beam based DRLs, far too much glare.
Requiring headlight declination to be related to headlight mounting height.
Increasing the minimum tread depth requirement from 2/32" to 3/32"

All of this would be far easier and cheaper.


Or maybe we should all be riding a bus?

James J. Harris

Developing a forward collision avoidance device capable of correctly recognizing every conceivable driving situation wasn't possible in the past. However, a limited collision avoidance radar intended for use in freeway and high speed highway use would have much simpler requirements and be very helpful in reducing serious high speed accidents.

Note the recent multiple vehicle accident in Texas because of a dense fog.

Such a system might automatically activate at speeds exceeding 45 to 50 mph. Once activated the system would not turn off until it was either manually de-activated by the driver or the speed reduced to zero. (Note: the driver must not be able to inadvertently speed up again while on a freeway in a dense fog.)

Perhaps a humidity or fog sensor might keep the system activated. JJH

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