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Consumer Reports praises Department of Transportation endorsement of standard terms for auto safety technology

CR, which spearheaded initiative with AAA, National Safety Council, and J.D. Power, says common names will help clear up confusion about advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS)


WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Department of Transportation today announced it is endorsing the standardized naming of advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS) through the initiative “Clearing the Confusion,” as spearheaded by Consumer Reports, AAA, the National Safety Council, and J.D. Power.  


In a statement, the Department said, “The recommended ADAS terminology is based on ADAS system functionality. Currently, there is variance among manufacturers, and standard language will ensure drivers are aware that these systems are designed to ‘assist,’ not replace an engaged driver.”


Consumer Reports has long advocated for a universal set of terms for automakers and government to use for ADAS technology in an effort to reduce consumer confusion and ensure people have accurate and consistent information about the limits and capabilities of these systems.


As the four groups stated in November 2019, ADAS technology has the potential to improve safety and save lives, but the terminology often seems to prioritize marketing over clarity.  The groups have been working with DOT officials, automakers, journalists, and other stakeholders to develop and promote recommended common names to describe various companies’ features.


Jake Fisher, Director of Auto Testing at Consumer Reports, said, “We are thrilled that the Department of Transportation is endorsing these universal terms. Currently, there are dozens of terms describing advanced safety systems such as Automatic Emergency Braking, or AEB.  Now that automakers have terms endorsed by the government, they can name and describe these systems in a consistent way that will help consumers understand what the systems do.”


Kelly Funkhouser, Head of Connected and Automated Vehicle Testing at Consumer Reports, said, “We want to thank DOT for this strong endorsement of this standardized set of terms for ADAS technology.  These terms are simple, specific, and focused on what the system does — not what the ad copy claims it does. We look forward to working with DOT to ensure these terms are used across the auto industry.”


Contact: David Butler, dbutler@consumer.org