Motor City, Here We Come

(Jan 2013) Detroit, MI North American International Auto ShowBy Debbie Hersman

Next week, Board Members Mark Rosekind and Earl Weener and I are visiting the North American International Auto Show, one of the top automotive events of the year. While there’s been a lot of attention on the 50 vehicles that will be unveiled at the show, our team is more interested in the safety features that are being developed and incorporated on new cars.

There are a number of new technologies that can help prevent crashes, such as forward-collision warning systems, adaptive cruise control and lane-keeping assist systems. These technologies, along with automatic braking and electronic stability control, can go a long way to help prevent the huge loss of life on our roadways each year, a number that tragically tops 30,000 fatalities each year. That’s why we put Mandate Motor Vehicle Collision Avoidance Technologies on our 2013 Most Wanted List.

We’re also looking forward to seeing the progress being made on self-driving cars, especially the work being done by Audi and Toyota that was unveiled at this week’s 2013 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. It was interesting to see safety through more autonomous vehicles, unveiled in Las Vegas, when we expect to see a lot of in-car electronic and entertainment features unveiled in Detroit, features that can distract drivers from focusing on the road. While the NTSB has commented on guidelines for in-vehicle systems – it is important for the manufacturers to put safety first when it comes to vehicle design and options. Eliminate Distraction in Transportation is also on our Most Wanted List.

We live in a rapidly changing world. Our work at the NTSB is focused on making it is a safer world.

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