NTSB calls for collision mitigation systems

The National Transportation Safety Board released a special report Monday calling for the more widespread use of collision mitigation systems with active braking among commercial and passenger vehicles.

“You don’t pay extra for your seatbelt,” said NTSB chairman Christopher A. Hart. “And you shouldn’t have to pay extra for technology that can help prevent a collision altogether.”

The special investigation report, The Use of Forward Collision Avoidance Systems to Prevent and Mitigate Rear-End Crashes, concluded that collision mitigation systems can prevent or lessen the severity of many rear-end crashes.

Such crashes kill about 1,700 per year and injure half a million more, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The NTSB wants NHTSA to do more testing on the systems and for vehicle manufacturers to make them standard.

Those are among 12 recommendations made in support of forward collision avoidance technologies made over 20 years. New and repeated recommendations were outlined in today’s report. It found a lack of incentives and limited public awareness has stunted the widespread adoption of collision avoidance technology. The NTSB wants to see collision mitigation systems made standard on new trucks and passenger vehicles.

“The promise of a next generation of safety improvements has been used too often to justify inaction,” Hart said. “Because there will always be better technologies over the horizon, we must be careful to avoid letting perfection become the enemy of the good.”

MeritorWabco, which makes such collision mitigation systems, lauded the report’s findings.

“The recommendations in today’s report are positively aligned with Meritor Wabco’s mission to improve road safety for everyone,” said Stephen Hampson, president and general manager, Meritor Wabco. “The proven performance of OnGuard collision mitigation systems since 2007 supports the NTSB report’s conclusions.”

The company pointed to a NHTSA study by the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute released in 2013 that found 20% of rear-end collisions involve stationary objects and 17% are in low-visibility conditions where robust and rapid system reaction is the most critical.

“With more than 80,000 (OnGuard) units installed, 27 billion road miles of service and a reorder rate of virtually 100%, fleets are increasingly welcoming this system’s contribution to improved road safety and operating efficiency,” the company announced.