Good News for Safety: Carmakers Agree to Make Automatic Braking Standard

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If all vehicles that hit the road today were equipped with an automatic braking system, researchers say rear-end crash rates would plummet.

Although outfitting every car with automatic emergency braking (AEB) is likely a very long way down the road — if it’s even a possibility — 20 carmakers have committed to making the AEB system a standard feature on all new cars sold in the United States by 2022.

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said the pact by the 20 carmakers, which make up nearly all of the U.S. auto market, is a “historic commitment” that will pave the way for the safety technology to reach more people sooner than if the AEB system had to go through the standard regulatory process.

“It’s an exciting time for vehicle safety. By proactively making emergency braking systems standard equipment on their vehicles, these 20 automakers will help prevent thousands of crashes and save lives,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said in a statement. “It’s a win for safety and a win for consumers.”

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, while forward collision warning systems in vehicles reduce rear-end collisions by 23 percent, using the warning system in conjunction with automatic braking slashed rear-end crashes by a whopping 39 percent. It also greatly reduces the incidence of injuries resulting from rear-end collisions.

Automatic braking is designed to stop a vehicle before it crashes into another car or other object.

The NHTSA says the automakers that have committed to make AEB systems standard in all new cars by Sept. 1, 2022, include the following: Audi, BMW, FCA US LLC, Ford, General Motors, Honda, Hyundai, Jaguar Land Rover, Kia, Maserati, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz, Mitsubishi Motors, Nissan, Porsche, Subaru, Tesla Motors Inc., Toyota, Volkswagen and Volvo.

“With roadway fatalities on the rise, the commitment made [by these 20 automakers] has the potential to save more lives than almost anything else we can accomplish in the next six years,” Deborah A.P. Hersman, president and CEO of the National Safety Council, said in a statement. “Including all models in the agreement ensures that safety isn’t for just those who can afford it.”

Although nearly 60 percent of American drivers said they want smart features – like automatic braking – on their next vehicle, “Most American Drivers Are Leery of Self-Driving Cars.”

What do you think about automakers’ commitment to implementing AEB systems in all new cars by 2022? Share your comments below or on our Facebook page.

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