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NHTSA Adds Automatic Braking to Safety Assessment Program

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 1/26/2015 Kelly Pleskot
NHTSA Adds Automatic Braking to Safety Assessment Program

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration will add two automatic braking technologies to its list of recommended safety features included alongside star ratings for new vehicles.

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NHTSA's crash test ratings will now identify whether or not cars offer crash imminent braking (CIB) or dynamic brake support (DBS) to give consumers a more complete picture of a car's overall safety. Having or not having these technologies will not influence a car's star rating, however.

CIB systems use automatic braking when they sense the driver has not applied the brakes to prevent an imminent crash. DBS systems, on the other hand, provide supplemental braking when they sense the driver isn't braking hard enough. Both systems can help mitigate or completely prevent rear-end crashes.

"Today marks an enormous leap in the evolution of auto safety by encouraging adoption of new technologies to keep drivers and their passengers safe on our roads," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx in a recent statement. "I want this Department, the entire automotive industry, and other innovators to keep raising the bar on safety like we are doing now."

NHTSA began recommending certain safety technologies to consumers starting on 2011 model-year vehicles. Other safety technologies currently recommended by NHTSA include electronic stability control, lane departure warning, and forward collision warning. Each vehicle equipped with advanced safety technologies must meet certain performance requirements for that technology to be recommended by NHTSA.

2013-mercedes-benz-c-class-side-view-nhtsa© Provided by MotorTrend 2013-mercedes-benz-c-class-side-view-nhtsa

As safety technologies continue to advance, we won't be too surprised if crash test ratings become more stringent in the future. At one point, NHTSA was pushing to make automatic braking systems mandatory on new vehicles. If this is still a plan, it could take awhile, considering auto braking technologies are typically offered as optional equipment on select models.

Source: NHTSA

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