The big picture: Modern safety technology could reduce US road deaths by half if they were implemented as standard equipment on all new vehicles. In total, between 16,800 and 20,500 lives could be spared each year if modern tech came installed on all US light-duty motor vehicles.

According to the latest analysis from Consumer Reports, roughly 11,800 lives could be saved annually by implementing automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, blind spot warning and pedestrian detection systems. An additional 1,300 lives could be saved through widespread adoption of vehicle-to-vehicle communications technology, we’re told, while as many as 3,700 to 7,400 deaths could be avoided through the use of drunk driving prevention technology.

According to Consumer Reports, 36,560 people died in crashes on US roads in 2018. A full 2.5 million more sustained injuries, and the total economic cost of crashes was somewhere around $800 billion.

The report comes as the House of Representatives prepares to vote on the Moving Forward Act (H.R. 2) later this week. Among other things, the bill includes provisions for requiring new vehicles to come standard with advanced drunk driving prevention technology and proven crash avoidance systems. It also calls for the Department of Transportation to modernize its five-star safety ratings system to make it more useful for consumers.

Interestingly enough, Consumer Reports also notes that there is not sufficient evidence to support claims that autonomous vehicles are proven to save lives. As such, William Wallace, manager of safety policy at Consumer Reports, said Congress and NHTSA’s first priority should be the lifesaving technologies we have in hand today and making sure they are in every new car ASAP.

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