Automakers commit to make 'Auto-Braking' feature standard - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Automakers commit to make 'Auto-Braking' feature standard

WASHINGTON (AP/KFVS) - Ten automakers have committed to the government to include automatic emergency braking in all new cars, a step safety advocates say could significantly reduce traffic deaths and injuries.

There are more than 1.7 million rear-end collisions each year across the United States, and 1,700 people die annually in rear-end collisions.

Federal transportation experts say 80 percent of those collisions could be avoided if the technology is implemented nationwide.

Making the technology widely available is part of a new era in vehicle safety in which the focus is on preventing crashes rather than on protecting occupants from their effects, Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said Friday in a statement announcing the commitments.

“You look away for a second, or, you shouldn’t be texting, but some people might be texting,” explained a Texas resident on Sunday. “if the brakes come on, you stop… and stop on time.”

The man was driving from Texas to Ontario, and says having a safety net in a long drive could end up saving his life. “Sometimes you’re driving, and you’re getting sleepy, and when you need to stop, it’s a good thing to have because it stops for you.” He explained

The relatively new technology is already available as an option; using lasers, cameras, or infrared sensors to detect an obstacle, and stop the vehicle if necessary.

"If technologies such as automatic emergency braking are only available as options or on the most expensive models, too few Americans will see the benefits of this new era," Foxx said.

Carbondale resident Tom Haskell says despite the possible safety benefits, the technology could prove distracting.

“I think you should have control over your own vehicle, and have no outside forces controlling your vehicle, because anything can surprise you can cause an accident.” Haskell explained.

The announcement didn't specify a timetable for implementing the change. The automakers are Audi, BMW, Ford, General Motors, Mazda, Mercedes Benz, Tesla, Toyota, Volkswagen and Volvo.

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