From Our President: Auto Safety Should Be Standard
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From Our President: Auto Safety Should Be Standard

Jun 25, 2023

In 1936, when CR published its first car ratings, seat belts were rare and airbags for automobiles hadn’t been invented. We now take those features for granted, but there’s still so much we can do to make cars safer. These days, however, the question sometimes isn’t whether better safety tech exists, but whether automakers are making these new safety advances available to all customers—not just those who can pay extra.

Proven lifesaving safety features should come standard on every vehicle, and CR has championed this idea for decades. We are proud of our work ensuring that all cars come with seat belts, airbags, backup cameras, electronic stability control, and more. But we can’t stop there, because new lifesaving technologies must be accessible to all.

Our consumer-driven calls for action have led to great progress this year. But according to the Governors Highway Safety Association, pedestrian fatalities have increased by 77 percent since 2010. We were pleased that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recently proposed requiring that automatic emergency braking (AEB) with pedestrian detection come standard on all new passenger vehicles. CR has long advocated for this change, which would be likely to prevent hundreds of deaths and tens of thousands of injuries yearly.

We’re also advocating to make automatic crash notification standard. ACN—a technology that uses built-in sensors that detect a crash—calls for help in an emergency and provides responders with the vehicle’s precise location. It’s required on new cars in most European countries, and there’s no reason we shouldn’t make this commonsense protection available to everyone in the U.S.

CR’s advocacy is already having an impact: Hyundai announced it will include the technology in its new cars sold after 2024, in part because of our work. And more than 30,000 consumers have signed our petition urging all automakers to make it a standard feature in their vehicles.

You can add your voice to our call for change.

Editor’s Note: This article also appeared in the September 2023 issue of Consumer Reports magazine.

Marta L. Tellado, PhD

As President and CEO of Consumer Reports, Marta L. Tellado leads America’s foremost consumer organization—an independent nonprofit that works with consumers to advance truth, transparency, and fairness in the marketplace. Since joining CR in 2014, Tellado has transformed one of America’s most trusted social enterprises, uniting its rigorous research, consumer insights, award-winning journalism, and policy expertise to drive social impact. Born in Cuba and raised in New Jersey, Marta has dedicated her public service career to a range of issues, including consumer advocacy, economic fairness, and civil rights. Follow her on Twitter (@MLTellado).

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