NHTSA adds automatic braking systems as a recommended safety feature

In order to reduce the number of serious rear-end accidents, the NHTSA plans to add automatic braking systems to its recommended safety list.

All too often, people in the Charleston area are struck from behind by other vehicles while they are on the road. According to the National Transportation Safety Board, there were 1.7 million rear-end crashes across the U.S. in 2012. These accidents resulted in 500,000 injuries and 1,700 deaths. In order to cut down on rear-end collisions, automakers have developed crash avoidance technologies, which the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is planning to add to its recommended safety list.

Common causes of rear-end collisions

As is the case with all types of auto accidents, there are a number of factors that contribute to causing rear-end wrecks. Some of the most common causes of these types of collisions include the following:

  • Speed
  • Tailgating
  • Driver distractions
  • Hazardous weather conditions

Furthermore, alcohol intoxication often plays a role in causing rear-end accidents. Due to these, and other factors, drivers may not notice changes in the traveling conditions in front of them. All too often, this results in people hitting other vehicles from behind.

Automatic emergency braking systems added to safety list

The NHTSA has long used a five-star rating system to indicate how vehicles withstand collisions. The vehicles, which are deemed the safest are awarded five-stars. Reuters recently reported that the NHTSA is planning to add automatic emergency braking technologies to its five-star rating. Consequently, automatic emergency braking, or AEB, systems will be a recommended safety feature for all vehicles sold in the U.S. beginning with model year 2018 automobiles.

How do AEB systems work?

Generally, AEB technology includes two systems - dynamic braking support and crash imminent braking. According to the Department of Transportation, dynamic braking support systems supplement drivers' braking. This system is engaged when motorists have not applied sufficient braking to avoid a rear-end collision. Crash imminent braking systems apply vehicles' brakes when a crash is imminent. These types of systems are engaged when motorists have not taken any action to avoid a rear-end accident that is about to happen.

Using technology to reduce rear-end crashes

By adding AEB systems as a recommended safety feature, the NHTSA hopes to speed up the spread of technologies, which are aimed at reducing motor vehicle accidents. According to Reuters, AEB systems are able to reduce the speed of rear-end crashes, or help to prevent them altogether. The hope is that this would help decrease the number of injuries, including broken bones, head trauma and musculoskeletal injuries, as well as deaths, that result from such collisions.

Seeking legal guidance

When people in West Virginia get into rear-end accidents, the effects can be devastating. The drivers, passengers and others who are involved often suffer serious injuries, which require extensive medical treatment. As a result, they may incur unexpected medical expenses, and lose income while they are off of work to recover.

Depending on the circumstances, the motorists who cause such crashes may be held responsible for the resulting damages. Thus, those who have experienced such situations may benefit from discussing their case with an attorney. A lawyer may help them to understand their rights, and explain their options for pursuing financial compensation.