(Bloomberg) -- The U.S. government’s annual safety ratings of cars may soon give them credit for having driver-assistance systems, the latest indication that the once-futuristic technology is becoming mainstream.
The U.S. Department of Transportation proposed on Thursday that lane-keeping support, automatic emergency braking, blind spot detection and blind spot intervention be incorporated into its Five-Star Safety Ratings program for new cars.
The move comes on the heels of the department’s release of data Wednesday showing 38,824 people died in traffic crashes nationwide in 2020. The agency said it marked the highest number of fatalities since 2007.
“There’s a crisis on America’s roadways,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said in a statement. “These important changes will help save lives on our roadways by ensuring that consumers have the information they need about the latest safety technologies when they buy a new vehicle.”
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, a unit of DOT, has issued ratings measuring auto safety on a five-star scale since 1993. Automakers that receive a high rating frequently tout that fact in commercial advertising.
The proposed changes to the ratings system are subject to public comment for the next 60 days.
NHTSA said it would also study the potential addition of other emerging vehicle technologies related to driver distraction, such as alcohol detection, seat belt interlocks, intelligent speed assist, driver monitoring systems and rear seat child reminder assist.
Providing a crash avoidance rating on the window sticker on new and used vehicles is also under consideration, NHTSA said.
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