The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), America’s federal auto regulator, has been taken over by Mark R. Rosekind at a crucial juncture: on the one hand massive safety scandals such as GM’s ignition switch and Takata’s airbag debacle and on the other the upcoming technology-driven revolution.
The automotive industry is confronted with incredible changes thanks to numerous innovations – from autonomous driving to vehicle-to-vehicle and connected features. All these will shape up to deeply affect NHTSA’s primary goal of making sure that vehicles are safe to drive and don’t lift traffic fatality rates. Rosekind is well equipped to deal with the technology conundrum – he’s a former NASA scientist and member of the National Transportation Safety Board. The regulator’s top official showcased the agency’s agenda briefly during the second-annual Connected Car Pavilion by the C3 Group in Austin, Texas during SXSW. “We’re here to discuss how technology possesses a huge potential in offsetting the human behaviors that are responsible for a vast majority of the deaths happening on our highways,” commented Rosekind. He further said that each of the 32,719 lives lost back in 2013 on US roads was a potentially avoidable accident.
He also said that the numerous safety technologies introduced in the past half century have already delivered their contribution towards reducing the tragic effects of car incidents – NHTSA estimates that 613,501 lives have been saved by the existence of dedicated safety features, from seat belts to automated braking systems, since 1960. According to their research, upcoming technologies have the potential of mitigating the impact of human error – responsible for a whopping 94 percent of accident cases.