NHTSA adds automatic braking recommendations to NCAP

NHTSA uses the NCAP test to assess the safety of new vehicles.

United States Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx has announced that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) will be adding two new automatic braking features to its list of recommendations for the New Car Assessment Program (NCAP). Under NCAP, which was created in 1979, NHTSA awards all new automobile designs a safety rating of up to five stars based on their resiliency to various safety threats.

The two new additions are crash-imminent braking (CIB) and dynamic brake support (DSB). NHTSA says that one third of all crashes reported in 2013 were rear-end collisions, and in many of those drivers didn't fully apply the brakes before colliding with the vehicle in front of them. Automatic emergency braking (AEB) systems can detect an imminent collision and alert the driver or automatically apply the brakes.

"Adding AEB to our list of recommended features will encourage consumers to consider AEB as a factor in their new car purchase and encourage automakers to make this important innovation more widely available," said NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind. "NCAP is a critical tool for enhancing safety, so we are also looking at additional innovations to the program to capitalize on this exciting period of progress in safety technology."

The agency estimates that more than 600,000 lives have been saved by safety technology over the past half century. The other main technological frontier that is being explored is vehicle-to-vehicle, which allows connected cars to exchange safety warnings and traffic information.

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