Consumer Reports: Many new car models lack certain lifesaving features

Advances in car technology are making cars safer than ever before, but not everyone has access to these lifesaving features. In fact less than half of new cars include forward collision warning and automatic emergency braking as standard equipment.

So why isn't this technology standard on every vehicle?

Experts say nine out of every 10 serious crashes are linked to driver error. Safety features like forward collision warning and automatic emergency braking are proven to help avoid them.

But these safety features are only standard in 44% of 2019 model cars. Consumer Reports would like to see all cars have this life-saving technology.

"We think these technologies are so important that they factor into our ratings. We'd like more vehicles to have these safety features as standard equipment and unfortunately the roll out has been slow," said Consumer Reports auto editor Jeff Plungis.

And CR says the slow-to-market safety technology is all too common.

Take, for example, seat belts.

Consumer Reports tested them in 1956, but it took more than 10 years for the government to require them on all cars.

And since 1960, more than 300,000 lives have been saved.

Even today, seat belt technology has evolved to make passengers safer.

"Two parts of the seat belt that really work during a crash are the pretensioner and the limiter. The pretensioner pulls the belt tight during the crash so you don't fly forward and the load limiter lets out a little bit of slack as that's happening so that as you're flying into the seat belt you don't get hurt by the belt, " Plungis said. "All this great technology isn't standard on all cars and isn't always available in the back seat. We need to find ways to save lives. It shouldn't be a luxury option."

So what's next for safety? We might all be looking to the cloud to keep us safe on the roads in the future.

V2V or vehicle-to-vehicle technology allows cars to communicate with each other and coordinate traffic signals to help avoid crashing. And automakers and tech companies say self-driving cars could be the holy grail of highway safety, working to reduce or even eliminate crashes all together.

But, don't count on it for the near future; CR says fully self-driving cars are still years or even decades away.
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