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Auto manufacturers agree to install automatic braking systems

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration hopes to make automatic braking systems standard on all new vehicles marketed in Pennsylvania and the rest of the country by 2022. It has been instrumental in brokering a voluntary agreement among 10 major manufacturers of light vehicles, helping them to institute the safety systems by September of that year. Some of the automakers include Ford, General Motors, Fiat Chrysler and Honda.

These systems have been found to be effective in rear-end collisions, which in 2012 killed more than 1,700 U.S. residents and injured hundreds of thousands of others. Research has shown that a significant majority of those injuries and fatalities could have been avoided or mitigated if the vehicles had been equipped with this technology.

There are around 5 million car crashes in America each year. Automatic braking systems hold out the hope of preventing as many as a million of them, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Although a former NHTSA official said that she would have preferred that the agency made the installation of these systems mandatory, the current administrator of the agency noted that it would be far longer to have laws in place than the target date of the voluntary agreement.

Rear-end collisions often happen because the driver in the following vehicle is distracted in some manner. Although some are merely fender-benders, others can cause serious injuries to passengers in that car or occupants in the vehicle that was struck from behind. A person who has been injured in such a wreck may want to have legal assistance in seeking compensation from the negligent driver.

Source: Insurance Journal, "Automatic Braking, Due by 2022 in U.S. Cars, Could Prevent 20% of All Crashes", David Shepardson, March 17, 2016

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