A group of major automakers have committed to making automatic emergency braking (AEB) a standard feature on all new vehicles in the United States. The U.S. Department of Transportation, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) made this historic announcement at the recent dedication of IIHS’s newly expanded research center on September 11, 2015.
The ten automakers – Audi, BMW, Ford, General Motors, Mazda, Mercedes Benz, Tesla, Toyota, Volkswagen and Volvo – represented 57% of U.S. light-duty vehicle sales in 2014. These companies have pledged to work with IIHS and NHTSA in the coming months on the details for implementing the plan including a timeline for making AEB a standard feature.
AEB is a vehicle safety technology that has the potential to prevent a collision or reduce the impact of a collision. AEB systems use on-vehicle sensors such as radar, cameras or lasers to:
- defeat an imminent crash (especially a rear-end collision)
- warn the driver, and
- apply the brakes independently of the driver if he/she does not take sufficient action.
IIHS President Adrian Lund commented, “Most crashes involve driver error. This technology can compensate for the mistakes every driver makes because the systems are always on alert, monitoring the road ahead and never getting tired or distracted.”
The IIHS says AEB technology is already showing benefits in the real world. They point to several studies, including a recent report from IIHS, which show that AEB technology can reduce injury claims by as much as 35%. “We are entering a new era of vehicle safety, focused on preventing crashes from ever occurring, rather than just protecting occupants when crashes happen,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “But if technology, such as automatic emergency braking are only available as options…or on the most expensive models…too few Americans will see the benefits of this new era.” The 10 companies are committing to making AEB available to all new-car buyers.
This announcement clearly represents one of the industry’s biggest auto safety moves since rollover prevention technology was embraced more than a decade ago. However, one aspect that was not addressed during the announcement was how much a standard AEB system will cost the average consumer. Only time will tell.
About the Author: David M. Williams Jr. is a personal injury attorney in Fredericksburg with Allen & Allen. He has many years of experience in a variety of personal injury related matters including car accidents, premises liability and wrongful death. He is currently managing the Garrisonville / Stafford County Office of Allen & Allen.