The Feds Want Automatic Emergency Braking In Every New Car Sold In The USA

Technology / 12 Comments

Compulsory AEB systems could save at least 360 lives yearly and prevent countless injuries.

Once the reserve of luxury cars like the Mercedes-Benz S-Class, driver assist features like automatic emergency braking (AEB) has filtered down into mainstream vehicles. This is encouraging, but some automakers have yet to make this standard across their respective ranges. That may change soon: the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) wants AEB to be included in every new car sold in the United States.

The government organization announced a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that would require this technology to be fitted to all passenger cars and light trucks. If the proposal is adopted, manufacturers will have three years to implement AEB technology "after the publication date of a final rule." Low-volume manufacturers will receive an additional year, according to the NHTSA.


Should the proposed rule be accepted, mandatory AEB systems have the potential to save at least 360 lives and reduce injuries by 24,000 each year. Last year, more than 42,000 people died on American roads, which is terrifying.

"Today, we take an important step forward to save lives and make our roadways safer for all Americans," US Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said. "Just as lifesaving innovations from previous generations like seat belts and airbags have helped improve safety, requiring automatic emergency braking on cars and trucks would keep all of us safer on our roads."

The NHTSA also wants to introduce stricter pedestrian crashworthiness tests to improve pedestrian safety.


AEB also has the potential to avoid some crashes entirely. In instances when a collision is unavoidable, the technology will reduce the severity of the impact, resulting in fewer injuries and less damage.

The proposal forms part of the Department's National Roadway Safety Strategy. Launched in 2022, the plan seeks to address traffic fatalities and injuries in North America.

While AEB is useful, independent testing has shown that not all systems work flawlessly. However, the NHTSA is adamant that it will make a difference.

American Automobile Association/Brion Lee

"Our proposed rule would require all cars to be able to stop and avoid contact with a vehicle in front of them up to 62 miles per hour. And the proposal would require pedestrian AEB, including requiring that AEB recognize and avoid pedestrians at night," NHTSA Chief Counsel Ann Carlson said. "This proposed rule is a major safety advancement."

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has weighed in on the matter and expressed support for the new proposal. The independent organization has long been a proponent of automatic emergency braking and, last year, called for motor manufacturers to fit the driver assist as standard on pickup trucks.

A recent study found the system has the ability to reduce the risk of a rear-end accident by 43%.

American Automobile Association

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