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Automakers agree to automatic braking by 2022

After several months of discussions with automakers, the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration plans to announce they have entered into a voluntary agreement to implement automatic braking systems in most U.S. vehicles by September 2022. This technology is expected to prevent an estimated 20 percent of car crashes. In California, which saw 3,074 people die in fatal crashes in 2014, this means hundreds of lives each year might be saved. Nationwide, hundreds of thousands of accident-related deaths might be prevented annually.

Ten automakers, including General Motors Co., Volkswagen AG, Toyota Motor Corp., Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV, Ford Motor Co. and Honda Motor Co. have agreed to voluntarily implement the automatic braking systems. These systems are designed to prevent car accidents in situations where the driver either fails to brake or does not apply enough braking power.

The NHTSA will pursue enacting legally binding rules requiring all U.S. cars be equipped with this safety technology. Since the rule-making process could take nearly a decade, the voluntary agreement is preferable.

Until automakers begin installing the automatic emergency braking technology, drivers remain responsible for the prevention of car crashes. If a driver is tired, distracted, impaired by substances or has slow reaction times due to age, then that driver might fail to brake enough or even brake at all to prevent a rear-end collision. In such cases, the other car's driver or passengers might choose to pursue legal action to recover compensation for damages, injuries and distress. A personal injury lawyer may be able to help seek damages.

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