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Should crash-avoidance systems be standard?

When you are making the decision to buy a car in Atlanta, you are likely going to consider several factors before you find the best vehicle for you. For many people, two of the most important factors are price and safety features and one often significantly impacts the other.

Safety features in motor vehicles are becoming more and more high tech, which means that more tech-savvy and sophisticated models can come with a higher price tag. So if you want rear-facing cameras to help you back up safely or a feature to alert you if you drift out of your lane, you will often need to hand over more money. But is this fair?

According to the National Transportation Safety Board, it isn't. The NTSB recently submitted recommendations that the U.S. government require all car makers to install collision-prevention technology as a standard feature in their new vehicles.

There were a couple reasons that the NTSB made this recommendation. First, standard safety equipment including seat belts and windshield don't come with a higher price tag and they are very effective at keeping people safer. However, they are not as advanced as avoidance systems, which is why the NTSB has received push-back from auto manufacturers who say that the decision to include such features -- and the added cost -- should be left to consumers.

But the second reason they recommend having collision-avoidance system included as standard in vehicles is that they are enormously effective at preventing motor vehicle accidents. In fact, data suggests that 80 percent of rear-end collisions could be avoided or result in less severe damage when crash-avoidance systems are installed.

Essentially, these systems act as an emergency back-up and warning system to help drivers who are prone to human error. If a driver isn't paying attention or cannot respond quickly enough to avoid crashing into a car, the system can either apply the brakes or engage in avoidance maneuvers to minimize the damage of straight-on impact.

What do you think? Should these systems be included in every vehicle? Who should cover the costs: the consumer or the car makers?

Source: USA Today, "NTSB calls for collision avoidance systems on all cars," Todd Spangler, June 9, 2015

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