By Jeff Plungis, Bloomberg News
WASHINGTON (Jan. 23, 2015) — U.S. regulators will add automatic braking to a list of technologies considered in its influential automotive star-rating advisory system for consumers.
Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx announced the change Jan. 22 during a meeting in Washington with automotive engineers. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) rates cars based on the results of frontal and side crash tests as well as rollover propensity on a scale of one to five stars, with five being the highest score.
Automatic braking technologies will not affect a vehicle's star rating. Rather, the systems will be added to the agency's list of recommended safety technologies, which currently includes back-up cameras and lane-departure and impending-collision warning systems.
The auto-safety regulator has been conducting research on systems that dynamically engage brakes without driver input to avoid impending crashes for the last several years. In 2012, the agency asked for public comments on the technology and sought input on ways to test their effectiveness.
“Today marks an enormous leap in the evolution of auto safety by encouraging adoption of new technologies to keep drivers and their passengers safe on our roads,” Mr. Foxx said in a statement. “I want this department, the entire automotive industry, and other innovators to keep raising the bar on safety like we are doing now.”
The New Car Assessment Program is used by the agency to publish results of crash tests and push technologies it believes will reduce injuries and fatalities on U.S. roads.