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NTSB calls for advanced safety features in all new vehicles

With the holiday season upon us, the increase in traffic often leads to more car accidents throughout the country. In an effort to decrease serious accidents and injuries, the National Transportation Safety Board has recommended that the government require automakers to make collision prevention technology equipment standard in all new vehicles.

The technologies recommended include lane departure warning, forward collision warning, adaptive cruise control, automatic breaking and electronic stability control. Some of these technological features are available in higher-end models already and have been very effective in decreasing accidents.

The NTSB also recommended that commercial trucks have tire pressure monitoring systems and speed-limiting technology installed in all commercial vehicles.

The NTSB said these safety technologies can prevent car accidents that involve rear-ending another vehicle, lane-change accidents and running off the road. The U.S. had more than 32,000 fatal car accidents last year. It is estimated that these types of accidents account for 60 percent of all fatal highway accidents in the U.S., according to the NTSB.

Electronic stability control is already required for new vehicles that weigh less than 10,000 pounds. Large pickup trucks, 15-passenger vans and commercial trucks that exceed that 10,000 pounds are not required to have this safety feature installed.

The NTSB safety recommendations brought opposition from the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, stating that these safety features are too expensive to be standard in all new vehicles. The NTSB disagrees. NTSB board members said that they technologies can be installed in vehicles at a very inexpensive cost because many of the safety features rely on the same electronic sensors and computers.

The NTSB does not have the ability to set federal regulations but their recommendations are usually very influential with Congress and federal and state agencies that set the guidelines. So far, these are still just safety recommendations. It will be up to Congress and federal agencies to made collision technology equipment standard in all vehicles.

Source: Huffington Post, "NTSB urges safety technologies be made standard," Joan Lowy, Nov. 14, 2012

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