NHTSA to update safety list to include automatic braking, report says

To cut down on the number of rear-end crashes, which may cause serious injuries or death, the NHTSA is adding automatic braking to its safety list.

According to the Oklahoma Highway Patrol, there were 68,327 motor vehicle accidents across the state in 2014 alone. Often, such crashes occur when one vehicle strikes another from behind. In some cases, the occupants of the vehicles involved in rear-end collisions may suffer serious injuries or death. Recently, it was reported that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration plans to add automatic emergency braking systems to its recommended safety list in order to cut down on the occurrence of such wrecks.

Common causes of rear-end collisions

Like all motor vehicle collisions, there are a number of factors that may contribute to rear-end accidents. These factors may include the following:

• Speeding

• Driving under the influence

• Tailgating

• Weather conditions

• Road conditions

• Unsafe lane changes

Additionally, driver distractions such as talking on phone or to a passenger, text messaging, eating, drinking or adjusting the radio may also play a part in causing some rear-end crashes.

Updating vehicle safety ratings

The NHTSA awards vehicles ratings of between one and five stars based on their overall safety. The safest automobiles based on crash tests and other factors are awarded five-star ratings. According to Reuters, the NHTSA has proposed updating its recommended safety list to include automatic emergency braking systems.

Barring any major roadblocks, the proposed update will go into effect beginning with model year 2018 vehicles. Therefore, new automobiles starting in that year will have to include this type of safety technology in order to receive a five-star safety rating. This is just one of a number of actions the U.S. Department of Transportation and the NHTSA are taking to help reduce the number of car accidents that occur each year.

How do automatic emergency braking systems work?

Automatic emergency braking technologies are generally made up of two separate systems - dynamic brake support and crash imminent braking. Dynamic brake support systems supplement drivers' braking efforts when they have not applied the brakes hard enough to avoid crashing. Crash imminent braking systems engage a vehicle's brakes if it is about to rear-end another automobile and the driver has not taken action to prevent the collision. These systems may help slow the speed of automobiles involved in rear-end accidents, or help prevent them altogether.

Seeking legal counsel

Those who are involved in rear-end collisions in Oklahoma, and elsewhere, may suffer serious injuries or death. As a result, they may require medical treatment, as well as time off of work to recover. For some, this may lead to undue medical bills and lost income. When negligent motorists cause such accidents, they may be held responsible for these, and other damages. Therefore, people who have been injured in such accidents may benefit from discussing their rights and options with an attorney.