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U.S. National Transportation Safety Board recommends collision avoidance systems for all new passenger and commercial vehicles


June 9, 2015   by Canadian Underwriter


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The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) in the United States has recommended that the “life-saving benefits of currently available collision avoidance systems (CAS)” become standard on all new passenger and commercial vehicles.

Collision avoidance systems can prevent or lessen the severity of rear-end crashes

“You don’t pay extra for your seatbelt,” said NTSB chairman Christopher A. Hart in a press release on Monday. “And you shouldn’t have to pay extra for technology that can help prevent a collision altogether.”

NTSB released a special investigation report The Use of Forward Collision Avoidance Systems to Prevent and Mitigate Rear-End Crashes on Monday that stresses that CAS can prevent or lessen the severity of rear-end crashes, thus saving lives and reducing injuries. “The report concludes that collision warning systems, particularly when paired with active breaking, could significantly reduce the frequency and severity of rear-end crashes.”

According to statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), rear-end crashes kill about 1,700 people every year and injure half a million more. More than 80% of these deaths and injuries might have been mitigated had the vehicles been equipped with a CAS, the safety board said in the release.

Over the past three years, the NTSB has investigated nine rear-end accidents involving passenger or commercial vehicles striking the rear of another vehicles, the result of which was 28 fatalities and 90 injured people. [click image below to enlarge]

Over the past three years, the NTSB has investigated nine rear-end accidents involving passenger or commercial vehicles striking the rear of another vehicles, the result of which was 28 fatalities and 90 injured people

The report notes that only four out of 684 passenger vehicle models in 2014 included a complete forward CAS as a standard feature. “When these systems are offered as options, they are often bundled with other non-safety features, making the overall package more expensive,” the release noted.

From a claims perspective, the NTSB used insurance data from the Highway Loss Data Institute to examine claims for three passenger vehicle manufacturers – Acura, Mercedes-Benz and Volvo – all of which offered models with a CAS, with or without an autonomous emergency braking (AEB) component. With certain limitations, the study examined claim rates of the vehicles equipped with a forward CAS and compared them to the same year and model of vehicles without such a system.

Related: Collision avoidance systems can decrease accidents 44%: preliminary findings

“The results showed a lower property damage liability claim frequency across all vehicles equipped with any type of forward CAS, compared to the same or similar vehicles without a forward CAS,” the report said. “Mercedes-Benz and Volvo vehicles equipped only with a CWS (collision warning system) had a 7% lower claim frequency, compared to the same vehicles without CWS. Vehicles equipped with CWS with AEB showed a further reduction in claim frequency.”

Specifically, Acura and Mercedes-Benz vehicles had a 14% lower claim frequency compared to the same vehicles without these systems, while Volvo had a 10% lower claim frequency.

The safety board recommended that manufacturers make collision avoidance systems standard equipment in newly manufactured vehicles, beginning with CWS (which present auditory, visual and/or haptic warnings) and adding AEB once NHTSA completes standards for such braking systems. Furthermore, the safety board recommended that NHTSA develop tests and standards in order to rate the performance of each vehicle’s collision avoidance systems and to incorporate those results into an expanded NCAP (New Car Assessment Program) 5-star safety rating scale.

The NTSB also issued a companion Safety Alert for consumers and commercial fleet owners that urges them to consider vehicles with collision warning and autonomous emergency braking functions.


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