To the best of my recollection, I have never rear-ended anyone while driving. Still, the danger is always present. Accidents such as rear-end collisions or hitting poles and other obstructions—not to mention accidents involving pedestrians—result in thousands of deaths and injuries each year.
Automated braking, the technology that could prevent many of these accidents, is a key element of the autonomous vehicle of the future.
This technology not only has been developed, but it is offered on many vehicles today.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety have a voluntary agreement with 20 auto makers to standardize automated braking by 2022.
The problem is that automated braking is mainly sold as an extra-cost option or as part of a cruise control system, i.e., adaptive cruise control. IIHS estimates that only 1 percent of registered vehicles on the road today have automated braking.
In my opinion, if an auto maker has developed automatic braking and can install it as an option, then it can make the technology standard on all its vehicles.
If it adds to the cost of the vehicle then so be it. Just raise the price of the vehicle!
I don't know of any company that offers as optional equipment seat belts or airbags or any of the other life-saving devices that have been developed over the years.
There is something wrong with a company having the ability to save lives and choosing not to do so. The driving public deserves all the latest safety systems available.
The government will eventually mandate such systems anyway. Car companies that do not offer these systems as standard are making a big mistake.
Keith Crain is chairman of Crain Communications, which publishes Rubber & Plastics News.