The U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has announced its “Significant and Seamless” auto-safety initiative that calls for the agency and the automotive industry to “aggressively accelerate achievable technological advances” to significantly improve auto safety. With an aim to address highway safety matters that the agency considers the most promising, the initiative is focused on advanced seat-belt interlocks, alcohol-detection systems and front-collision warning systems. These technologies were also selected because they purportedly have great lifesaving potential, and their combined effect could have an impact on decreasing the death toll, NTHSA said.
Although the agency has not yet proposed regulations that would mandate these features, it hopes to urge automakers to speed up safety innovations that “address safety issues that have plagued this nation for decades, including failure to use seat belts, drunk driving and driver error.” On November 14, 2013, NHTSA released its 2012 Fatality Analysis Reporting System data, which indicated an increase of 1,082 highway deaths compared to 2011. See NHTSA News Release and,November 14, 2013; Law360, November 15, 2013.