During our last post, we began a discussion about the National Transportation Safety Board and collision avoidance technology. We noted that the NTSB recently released an extensive report regarding this new technology. In the report, the agency essentially calls for auto manufacturers to install this technology in all new light and commercial vehicle models. Although the auto industry has avoided widespread installation of this technology due to its costs, the NTSB chairman has insisted that if consumers do not pay more for seat belts, they should not have to pay more for collision avoidance technology.
According to the agency, widespread installation of this technology could prevent thousands of injurious and fatal crashes annually. This scale of prevention could save Americans money, stress and the pain of significant losses. Specifically, widespread installation of this technology could mitigate more than 80 percent of rear-end collisions. Currently, these collisions alone result in roughly 1,700 deaths and 500,000 on an annual basis.
Refusing to install this kind of technology in every new vehicle in the name of “consumer choice” is a relatively absurd position for the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers to take. Certainly, some elements of vehicle construction should be left up to consumers. Consumers should be able to choose the color of their vehicles and should be able to decide whether or not they want their minivans to be outfitted with DVD players. However, the government has every right to insist that vehicles be as safe as reasonably possible. Safety is not ultimately a choice that should be left to the consumer but is instead a reasonable right.
Source: USA Today, “NTSB calls for collision avoidance systems on all cars,” Todd Spangler, June 9, 2015