Safety experts say all cars should come with crash avoidance systems

After years of repeated urgings on the same topic, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has recently reissued its call for universal use of crash-avoidance technology. The computerized safety technology, which is designed to help drivers detect and avoid collision hazards that they might otherwise miss, is currently offered as an optional feature on many new cars and trucks, but despite repeated urgings from the NTSB is nearly nonexistent as a standard feature.

In a recent press release, the agency says that including the systems as a standard feature in new passenger and commercial vehicles could mitigate about 80 percent of injuries and deaths caused by rear-end collisions. Currently, those accidents cause approximately half a million injuries and 1,700 deaths each year nationwide.

Nearly half of all two-vehicle traffic accidents involve a rear-end collision, and of those, nearly nine out of 10 are caused by driver inattention. Collision-avoidance systems use sensors, cameras, GPS tracking and other high-tech tools to help offset that risk by scanning for crash risks and issue warnings when a potential collision is detected.

Collision avoidance could soon factor into safety ratings

To date, government regulators have not yet adopted the recommendations recommended by the NTSB. However, federal lawmakers are currently considering a proposed reform that would update the government's crash-safety rating criteria to include information about anti-crash technologies.

The federal government's familiar five-star crashworthiness rating system was introduced in 1978 to give consumers a quick and easy way to determine how well a new vehicle is equipped to protect occupants from being injured or killed in a crash. But although government regulators do recommend collision-avoidance technologies, information about those systems are not included in the five-star rating structure.

Supporters of the proposed legislation say the change would help bring the rating system up to date with current safety options and allow consumers to know at a glance whether a vehicle comes equipped with state-of-the-art technologies. Also, because the rating system also serves to motivate car manufacturers to design safer vehicles, including collision-avoidance technology in the government rating structure could help encourage automakers to include the safety systems on a voluntary basis.

After a crash, get help evaluating your options

When car accidents lead to serious injuries or death in California, the civil legal system provides an opportunity for the injured crash victims and their families to pursue financial compensation for the damages they have sustained. If you or a loved one has been hurt in a traffic accident in or around the San Diego area, be sure to talk things over with an experienced personal injury lawyer to learn about the possibility of seeking compensation for your medical expenses, lost income and other damages. Contact Bender & Gritz, APLC, to discuss your situation in detail and receive personalized legal advice about your options.