For years, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has been recommending that new vehicles bought and sold in the United States should come equipped with forward collision prevention systems as a standard safety feature, much like air bags and safety belts. The systems help prevent vehicle accidents by detecting collision risks on the road ahead.
However, although the agency restated that recommendation to Congress in 2012, lawmakers have yet to pass legislation requiring the technology on all new vehicles. In 2014, full collision-avoidance systems came standard on just four vehicle models available for sale in the U.S., out of a total of nearly 700.
Recently, the NTSB released a new report that once again urges that the systems be implemented on a universal scale in order to reduce the number of crash-related injuries and deaths on America's roads and highways. The agency says about 80 percent of the 500,000 injuries and 1,700 fatalities caused by rear-end collisions each year could be mitigated if all new cars and trucks were required to include the technology.
Crash Safety Ratings Bill Could Improve Access To Information
Although lawmakers have not yet acted to follow through on the NTSB's recommendation regarding forward collision-prevention systems, they are currently considering a measure that would require government crash-safety ratings to include information about collision-avoidance systems. Currently, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recommends the following crash-prevention features but does not incorporate them into its well-known five-star rating system:
- Forward collision warning
- Automatic emergency braking
- Rearview camera
- Lane-departure warning
Proponents of the measure, which has strong bipartisan support, say the change would bring the rating system up to date with 21st-century technology and would help car shoppers be better informed about how safe each vehicle is.
Taking Aim At Rear-End Accidents And Distracted Driving
Nearly 50 percent of all two-car accidents are rear-end collisions, according to data from the NTSB's report. Usually - in nearly nine out of 10 cases - rear-end accidents are caused by a driver failing to pay attention to the road ahead. Increasingly, cellphones and other handheld devices play a role in causing the distractions that lead to these accidents. Researchers at the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute estimate that using a handheld phone while driving increases the likelihood of a crash by about three times.
If you have been seriously hurt in a crash, or if someone in your family has been injured or killed in a Virginia traffic accident, be sure to talk your situation over with our experienced Fairfax auto accident lawyers at your earliest opportunity. We can evaluate the legal options available to you and may be able to help you obtain financial compensation for the losses you have sustained as a result of the crash, including lost income and medical expenses. Contact Kearney, Freeman, Fogarty & Joshi, PLLC at 703-691-8333, to schedule your free consultation.