In an unprecedented move by car manufacturers to push safety forward, automatic braking systems will be installed compulsorily in all the new vehicles. The news came as a sign of relief for many buyers who have to buy expensive technology as an optional pack. While the details of the landmark decision is yet to be gathered, Department of Transportation has said that the agreement will be implemented "as soon as possible".
The move to provide automatic braking as a standard safety feature is decided by ten automakers in the U.S including Audi, BMW, Ford, General Motors, Mazda, Mercedes Benz, Tesla, Toyota, Volkswagen and Volvo. The timeline to provide new vehicles with such crash prevention technologies will be set in the coming months and DoT will overlook the whole operation.
This is the first such initiative where the government has not forced any directions and asked the manufacturers to provide safety features to everyone, and not only to the ones who can afford them. The Federal officials, in the past few months, have urged the manufacturers to provide the crash prevention technologies, after analyzing their role in mitigating severe or fatal accidents.
"Safety isn't a competitive advantage," said National Highway Traffic Safety Administration chief Mark Rosekind, speaking earlier this summer. "You never see the star rating on the side of an airliner when you board. ... Our responsibility is to ensure these innovations achieve their life-saving potential. That means making sure innovations are focused squarely on safety and widely distributed."
The above mentioned ten car manufacturers in the U.S represents 57% of the total sales of the light vehicles in the country. And the DOT is happy with the decision stating that Friday's agreement represented a "historic commitment." IIHS president Adrian Lund said, "This technology can compensate for the mistakes every driver makes, because the systems are always on alert, monitoring the road ahead and never getting tired or distracted."
As for the automatic emergency brakes, they are made with a number of systems that makes the life simpler for a driver, especially in the case of the rear-end crashes. In such cases the drivers either don't apply the brakes or apply insufficient braking power. The system consists of on-board sensors and cameras, and warns the driver of an imminent crash. In case the driver fails to respond, the brakes are automatically engaged, preventing the crash.
And why is this news important from India point of view? Because, being a country with the highest number of crashes related accidents, it's important to seriously consider safety equipments in the car. And right now, even the basic airbags don't come as standard, leave aside, ABS, ESP or automatic braking. Authorities here need to reconsider their stand on the safety!