Improving vehicle safety: NHTSA adding automatic braking to safety List

In an effort to cut down on rear-end crashes, and the related injuries, the NHTSA is adding automatic braking systems to its recommended safety list.

According to the Oregon Department of Transportation, there were more than 49,000 motor vehicle collisions across the Oregon in 2011 alone. Many such auto accidents occur when one vehicle strikes another from behind. In order to cut down on the number of rear-end collisions, which often result in serious injuries or death, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is updating its recommended safety list.

Common causes of rear-end collisions

There are numerous factors, which may contribute to causing rear-end accidents. Some of the most common of these causes include the following:

• Tailgating

• Hazardous weather conditions

• Speed

• Distractions

• Alcohol intoxication

As a result of these factors, motorists may be less attentive. Thus, they may be less likely to notice or be able to react to changes in the traffic conditions when they are driving. This frequently leads to drivers striking other vehicles from behind.

Reducing rear-end accidents with technology

Beginning with model year 2018 automobiles, the NHTSA plans to include automatic emergency braking systems as a recommended safety technology, according to Reuters. Therefore , vehicles will have to be equipped with this technology in order to receive a five-star safety rating. The NHTSA's safety rating system awards five-stars to those automobiles that are deemed the safest.

Automatic emergency braking systems are the most recent type of safety technology to be added to the regulatory agency's recommended safety list. The hope is that by including it, more automakers will include automatic braking systems as a standard feature on their vehicles. As more and more vehicles are equipped with this type of technology, it is believed that the number of rear-end collisions that occur each year will go down. This is because, according to the NHTSA, research shows that the automatic emergency braking systems that are currently available are able to reduce the severity of rear-end accidents or prevent them altogether.

How do automatic emergency braking systems work?

The NHTSA reports that automatic emergency braking technology generally includes two systems - dynamic brake support and crash imminent braking. The dynamic brake support system engages the brakes when a motorist brakes, but not enough to avoid a rear-end collision. Crash imminent braking systems apply a vehicle's brakes when it is about to crash with another vehicle and the driver has not taken any actions to avoid wrecking.

Seeking legal guidance

Despite technologies aimed at reducing rear-end collisions, these types of accidents may still occur. As a result, people in Oregon, and elsewhere, may suffer serious injuries, which require extensive medical treatment. This may lead to undue expenses, as well as lost wages. In order to understand their rights and to discuss whether a negligent driver may be held liable for their damages, people who have experienced situations such as this may benefit from consulting with an attorney.