The systems could prevent or mitigate more than 80 percent of the rear-end collisions that cause about 1,700 deaths and a half-million injuries annually, the report said. There are about 1.7 million rear-end crashes each year in the U.S.
Some of the collision-avoidance systems issue a warning to drivers that a collision is imminent, but do not automatically brake. The board recommended manufacturers begin by making a warning system standard, and then add automatic emergency braking after the National Highway Traffic Safety Administrationcompletes standards for them.
The board has recommended adoption of collision-avoidance systems or other steps to encourage their use a dozen times over the past 20 years, but the report called progress "very limited." Only four of 684 passenger vehicle models in 2014 included automatic braking systems as a standard feature: the Mercedes-Benz G Class 4X4, an SUV; the Subaru Forester and Outback, also SUVs, and the Subaru Legacy, a mid-sized sedan.
When the systems are offered as options they are typically on high-end vehicles like Cadillac, Infiniti andLexus models and are often bundled with non-safety features like heated seats or faux leather interiors, making the overall package more expensive.