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Will collision-avoidance systems prevent rear-end car accidents?

Rear-end accidents are not uncommon on Pennsylvania roads. The National Transportation Safety Board says approximately 1.7 million rear-end collisions occur nationwide every year. The deaths and injuries that result from these car accidents are reported to be 1,700 and 500,000 respectively. These alarming numbers likely gave rise to a call by NTSB for all auto manufacturers to include collision-avoidance systems as regular equipment in new vehicles.

NTSB says such systems could automatically activate the brakes of vehicles or sound warnings to prevent rear-end crashes from happening. Some varieties of these systems issue warnings of imminent collisions rather than activating the braking system. Installing standard warning systems is thought to be the suitable start until the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has drawn up required standards for the automatic braking systems.

The Board says the warning systems, similar to seatbelts, must be standard requirements for all vehicles, with more advanced systems as optional extras. However, the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers believes the installation of any collision-avoidance systems must remain optional. The Alliance says while automatic braking can be helpful, vehicle owners must decide whether they want such a system installed.

Some Pennsylvania drivers may agree that collision-avoidance systems could help avoid rear-end crashes, but the traffic safety administration is currently investing incidents in which autonomous braking systems on newer models activated without reason. Instead of avoiding a rear-end collision, this can actually cause such an accident. Victims of rear-end car accidents commonly suffer neck or spinal injuries due to the whiplash effect. Some victims choose to retain the services of experienced personal injury attorneys to protect their interests and pursue monetary compensation for medical expenses and other financial losses.

Source: ABC Tampa Bay, "NTSB: Collision avoidance systems should be standard in cars", Joan Lowy, June 10, 2015

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