NTSB recommends mandating accident avoidance technology for autos

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Automakers have said they support accident-avoidance technologies, which are known as "Driver Assist," but oppose a mandate to put them in every vehicle.

"Automakers see great promise from their Driver Assist technologies, and we are urging consumers to check them out, but the choice to purchase one or more belongs to consumers," the Washington, D.C.-based Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers said in a statement.

The auto alliance said crash-avoidance technology was the "latest hot trend in automobiles," but the organization warned that "[I]n this still fragile economy, maintaining affordability of new vehicles remains a concern.

"Every new technology could be a new mandate, and every mandate is a new cost to consumers," the auto alliance said. "Consumer demand, informed by the government’s Safer Car and [New Car Assessment] programs, is the best way to get more Driver Assist technologies onto our roads — and to help bring down the costs of these new technologies."
 
The NTSB has no regulatory authority, so it cannot force automakers to accept its recommendations. Nevertheless, the agency puts out a "most wanted" list of safety suggestions ever year, and lawmakers at the state and federal levels pay close attention to their findings. 

NTSB board member Robert Sumwalt disagreed with automakers objection to requiring accident avoidance technology on the basis that many of the safety features on the “wish list” rely on the same sensors and computers.
 
“I don’t think we’re talking about adding thousands of dollars to a car,” he said.
 
Other recommendations on the NTSB "most wanted" list include under ignition interlocks to prevent substance-impaired driving and banning drivers from using electronic devices that "do not directly support the task at hand" of driving.

The agency also called for transit systems and commuter railways to implement automatic Positive Train Control (PTC) systems and improving airport traffic control to prevent airplane runway accidents.

The full NTSB list can be read here