An American plan to provide all new cars with “automatic brake systems”

An American plan to provide all new cars with automatic brake systems

According to a report by The New York Times, US authorities are planning to mandate that all new vehicles be equipped with automatic braking systems in order to improve traffic safety.

The top federal auto safety regulator proposed on Wednesday that all new cars and trucks should be equipped with automatic braking systems capable of preventing collisions, in response to a recent increase in traffic-related fatalities.

The plan, issued by the National Highway Traffic Safety Agency, requires car companies to expand the use of systems that are more advanced than those commonly used now. The agency suggests that all light vehicles, including cars, vans and SUVs, be equipped to automatically stop and avoid pedestrians at speeds of up to 37 miles (60 km) per hour.

Vehicle collision avoidance systems are designed to make vehicles brake and come to a complete stop when encountering slow-moving or stopped vehicles, even at speeds of up to 62 miles (approximately 100 km) per hour, and they are expected to function properly even at night.

Polly Trottenberg, the deputy transport minister, stated in a news conference that they are optimistic the system will prevent numerous accidents and in turn, save lives.

Although around 90% of new cars currently available for purchase include automatic emergency braking, not all of them comply with the safety standards recommended by the agency.

Trottenberg acknowledged that the new regulations would impose costs on automakers who are likely to resist the plan. However, she emphasized that the technology is well established, and this is the opportune time to move forward.

Despite advances in warning and collision avoidance systems and increased use of airbags, traffic deaths in the United States remain a leading cause of death. However, this technology has the potential to mitigate fatal accidents. In 2022, around 43,000 people passed away in car accidents, which was slightly lower than in 2021 but about 31% higher than the figures recorded in 2014.

Automatic emergency braking systems use cameras, radar, or both to detect vehicles, pedestrians, cyclists, and other obstacles. These systems can determine that a collision is about to happen by comparing the vehicle’s speed and direction with those of other vehicles or people. If the driver fails to apply brakes, the system will alert the driver with an alarm and activate the brakes.

Some new cars have advanced driver assistance systems that include automatic braking. These systems can also steer the car without human input and some even allow drivers to take their hands off the wheel on highways for semi-autonomous driving. The newspaper noted that it may take a few years before these systems become mandatory.

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