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updated: 11/14/2013 11:23 AM

Gov't fast tracks new safety systems for cars

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Associated Press

WASHINGTON -- Federal officials say they'll "aggressively accelerate" research on safety systems that automatically prevent drivers who are drunk or who don't have their seat belts buckled from operating cars.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration also says Thursday it expects to make a decision before the end of the year on how to encourage automakers to include safety systems in cars that warn drivers ahead of a forward collision and can automatically brake to prevent a crash. Such systems are available on some high-end cars now.

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Safety officials say they are responding to final traffic fatality data for 2012, which shows the first an increase in deaths since 2005. There were 33,561 traffic deaths in 2012, which were 1,082 more fatalities than the previous year.

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