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Collision Avoidance Could Become Part of Car Ratings

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June 11, 2015—Legislation being proposed in the U.S. House and Senate today would require federal auto regulators to include information about collision-avoidance systems in their new car safety ratings, according to a report by USA Today.

The proposed legislation comes days after the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) reiterated its call for collision-avoidance systems to be included as standard equipment in new cars. U.S. Sens. Dean Heller (R-Nev.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), U.S. Reps Todd Rokita (R-Ind.) and Earl Blumenaur (D-Ore). are proposing the legislation.

If the legislation passes, it would require that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) integrate “active safety technology” into its 5-star crashworthiness ratings. NHTSA’s program measures the level of safety a vehicle has in frontal and side car crashes and rollovers. Currently, the program does not include collision-avoidance systems in its ratings but, according to the NHTSA’s website, identifies vehicles equipped with features like electronic stability control, lane departure warning and forward collision warning.

According to NTSB, only four passenger vehicle models last year included a complete forward collision avoidance systems as a standard feature. Supports of this legislation believe that consumers, not government, should decide how their money is being spent on collision-avoidance technology.

Markey said that consumers trust what they read in the window stickers of the cars they buy but that the absence of collision-avoidance technology from the ratings means they lack important information.

"Today's 5-star safety rating system only tells them how safe they are in the vehicle once a crash occurs, ignoring any features like collision warning and automatic emergency braking, that can help avoid that crash in the first place,” Markey said, according to USA Today.

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