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NTSB Publishes Recommendations For Safer Roads


Safety assist features on the 2013 Ford Fusion

Safety assist features on the 2013 Ford Fusion

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The job of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is to make passenger travel safer, whether that travel occurs by car, bus, train, or airplane. Recent advances in vehicle safety have produced safer cars, but in this case safer also translates to more expensive.

Consider the 2013 Infiniti M37, for example, which is available with blind spot warning and intervention, lane departure warning and prevention, intelligent cruise control and forward collision warning. All of these supplemental safety systems come as part of the Technology Package, which adds $3,050 to the price of the car.

Even non-luxury cars, like the new Ford Fusion, can be equipped with advanced safety systems like adaptive cruise control, a blind spot indicator with cross-traffic alert, a lane keeping system and a driver alert system. Adding this suite of features raises the Fusion’s price by $1,995.

In its 2013 “wish list” of transportation safety improvements, the NTSB wants to mandate advanced safety systems for all cars, which would certainly reduce the number of highway accidents. Per the NHTSA’s numbers, rear-end impacts account for 28-percent of highway accidents, while lane changing causes nine percent of crashes.

Advanced safety systems would address both scenarios, and would likely help in the 23-percent of crashes caused by driving off the road surface, too. Still, can the average new car shopper afford to pay an additional $2,000 - $3,000 for mandated safety equipment?

In addition to adding crash-prevention technology to keep vehicles safer, the NTSB favors alcohol-detecting vehicle immobilizers, as well as an outright ban on the use of any handheld device while driving. While few can argue that both would result in safer roads, most drivers would find the rulings intrusive.

It’s worth pointing out that the NTSB can’t demand any of these changes on its own. That requires the buy-in of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Department of Transportation (DOT), and neither seems willing to mandate expensive technology in new cars. Yet, anyway.
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