Will Car Safety Improve in 2016?

The top car safety administrator is urging automakers to work with regulators to develop safety technologies instead of waiting until a federal mandate.

Mark Rosekind, chief of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, wants to try a new approach: reward auto companies for developing safety technologies to reduce deaths on the road.

Earlier this month, Rosekind hinted at historic announcements to come that will deal with the future of vehicle safety technology.

However, how quickly technology can reach the market is something that concerns Rosekind.

Several automakers have already agreed to include two important features: automatic emergency braking and forward-collision warnings. These will now be standard features on all new models—rather than something for only luxury cars at premium prices. But even the automakers’ most ardent proponents of this plan said it would take about eight years for that goal to be attained.

Rosekind said that any company that can bring that standard technology to market ahead of that schedule will be rewarded in saved lives and less crashes.

Zero Driving Deaths is the Goal of Car Safety Administration

A goal of zero driving deaths is NHTSA’s long-term objective.

Rosekind said that success comes not when safety solutions are discovered, but when agencies work with automakers to help prevent the crisis from happening.

NHTSA’s safety culture has shifted from the notion that crashes are inevitable and that the agency must protect drivers and passengers. The current objective is to prevent accidents completely and have safety standards in place to protect drivers and passengers in the event of a wreck.

Because humans are at fault in the large majority of accidents, Rosekind wants technology to help prevent those accidents. In addition to introducing semi-autonomous driving, Rosekind is pushing for a Driver Alcohol Detection System that will not start a car if it detects alcohol on the driver’s breath.



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