US legislators seeking crash avoidance features included in new car ratings image

The US House and Senate has seen legislation recently proposed to have federal auto regulators include information about available accident-avoidance systems in the new car safety ratings.

U.S. Sens. Dean Heller, R-Nev., and Ed Markey, D-Mass., and U.S. Reps. Todd Rokita, R-Ind., and Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore have presented the new legislation proposal – hitting the Congress within days from the National Transportation Safety Board’s recommendation that collision-avoidance systems should become standard equipment across the automotive industry. If the new bill passes, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) would then integrate “active safety technology” into its star-based crashworthiness ratings. The program is designed to assess the level of safety delivered by a new vehicle involved in frontal, side and rollover crashes, with the results being posted to the window stickers of every new auto. This is “a necessary piece of legislation to ensure American families are well-versed on whether vehicles they are looking to purchase are equipped with the newest, state-of-the-art safety technology,” commented Heller, one of the initiators, about the legislation proposal.

The rating today does not include in the final star assessment the availability of collision-avoidance systems, but the NHTSA website says it will identify the vehicles that have such features as electronic stability control, lane departure warning and forward collision warning. So far the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, an industry group has offered a cautious stance on the matter, saying earlier this week that consumers, not the government should be the ones to decide if they want to spend money on crash-avoidance technology.