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NHTSA announces automatic brakes deal with automakers

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has announced that automatic braking systems that experts say could save thousands of lives every year will be standard equipment on virtually all light vehicles sold in Oklahoma and around the country by 2022. The safety agency made the announcement in Virginia on March 18 after reaching a deal with auto manufacturers that produce virtually all of the cars, SUVs, pickup trucks and minivans sold in America. The list of participating car makers includes Ford, General Motors, Chrysler Fiat, BMW, Mercedes, Honda and Toyota. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety is also supporting the initiative.

Road safety advocates believe that automatic braking systems could prevent as many as a million car accidents each year. The technology applies brakes with no driver input when an array of sensors warn of an imminent collision, and it is particularly good at preventing high-speed crashes caused by fatigued or distracted drivers.

The NHTSA has urged lawmakers on a number of occasions to introduce regulations that would compel auto manufacturers to install automatic braking systems in their vehicles, but its current administrator has said that this voluntary agreement could see the technology being installed in more cars sooner.

Rear-end collisions and other kinds of motor vehicle accidents that automatic crash avoidance technology may prevent often leave people with debilitating injuries and unable to work for significant periods. Distracted, impaired or fatigued driving is negligent behavior, and personal injury attorneys may initiate litigation on behalf of accident victims when it causes their clients to incur medical expenses, lost wages and other damages.

Source: The Los Angeles Times, Automakers agree to make automatic braking a standard feature by 2022, James F. Peltz, March 17, 2016

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