NHTSA Launches Automated Safety Tech Media Campaign

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The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration enforces motor vehicle safety standards and has recently announced a new campaign that will educate drivers about new safety technology in cars, such as automatic high beams, blind spot intervention, rear automatic braking, and lane-keeping assistance.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, a federal agency that writes and enforces motor vehicle safety standards, has announced a new media campaign to educate drivers about “the safety benefits of advanced driver-assistance technologies in newer vehicles.” According to a press release issued by the agency, the yearlong campaign will involve $1.25 million in spending on digital media. Among other things, the NHTSA’s media campaign seeks to inform drivers about new driver-assistance technologies. The agency has already released materials promoting automatic high beams, blind spot intervention, rear automatic breaking, and lane-keeping assistance. 

As NHTSA materials explain, automatic high beams detect traffic and lighting conditions, automatically toggling between lower and higher beams if another vehicle is detect traffic and lighting conditions, automatically toggling between lower and higher beams if another vehicle is approaching. Blind spot warning systems provide either a visual or audio alert in the event that a driver is changing into a lane where vehicles are within the blind spot. Rear automatic braking, meanwhile, “uses sensors, like parking sensors and the backup camera, to detect objects behind the vehicle.” If those sensors determine that the car is reversing into a collision, they automatically trigger the brakes. Lane keeping assistance, finally, uses lane departure warning sensors to detect when vehicles are “about to unintentionally” exit their lanes. In the case an unintentional lane departure is imminent, the technology “activates and corrects the steering, brakes or accelerates one or more of the wheels, or does a combination of both, resulting in the vehicle returning to its intended lane of travel.”

The NHTSA explains on its website that 36,096 people lost their lives in motor vehicle crashes in 2019, arguing that driver-assistance technologies can help save “thousands of lives” annually. Other technologies highlighted on its website include forward collision warnings, automatic emergency braking, pedestrian automatic emergency braking, and adaptive cruise control. In a statement about the media campaign, NHTSA Deputy Administrator Dr. Steven Cliff said, “Vehicles equipped with lifesaving technologies can prevent or reduce the severity of a crash, but they are most effective when drivers learn how to use them… NHTSA is ensuring that vehicle manufacturers and developers prioritize safety while they usher in the latest technologies—and that the public understands their capabilities and limitations.”

More information about the NHTSA’s campaign to educate drivers about automated driver-assistance technologies is available via the NHTSA.

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