The feds are trying to make it much harder for you to skimp on safety features just to save on new-car costs.
The U.S. Department of Transportation proposed on Tuesday that U.S. automakers seeking the industry-standard, 5-star rating include crash-avoidance and advanced technologies, including automatic emergency braking systems to vehicles. The additional features would need to be included in 2019 model year vehicles in order to earn the rating. Previously, those features had merely been recommended.
Additionally, cars would need to undergo a new crash test “using new and more human-like crash test dummies” and a pedestrian protection assessment before receiving an official safety rating (which will now be measured in half-point increments on a scale of one to five instead of whole-points).
What does that all mean for car buyers? Instead of paying extra for features like automatic adjusted steering and automatic braking, those safety upgrades would be standard in new cars starting in about three years. That’s not to say that the base price of cars wouldn’t increase at all — the average transaction price for vehicles has been increasing steadily and is now at an all-time high, a trend expected to continue as pricey new tech gadgetry and safety systems are added to new models.
Though car buyers would pay more up front, they’d be saving more in the long run. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety found that including automatic emergency brakes in vehicles can reduce insurance injury claims by as much as 35%, meaning more money to spend on non-auto-related expenses.
So more good news: You’ll have plenty of time to start saving for those new, safety feature-filled cars of 2019 today. Three years, to be exact.
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