Automakers Achieve AEB Milestone, Paving Way for Safer Roads

All 20 automakers deliver on voluntary pledge, making automatic emergency braking standard in new vehicles.

In a major victory for road safety, all 20 carmakers participating in a voluntary pledge have met the goal of equipping nearly all light-duty vehicles with automatic emergency braking (AEB). This achievement marks a significant step towards reducing crashes and saving lives on American roads.

Five automakers – General Motors, Jaguar Land Rover, Maserati, Porsche, and Kia – made significant strides to reach the 95% AEB installation target by September 2023. Their efforts, along with those of early adopters like Audi, BMW, and Honda, mean that nearly every new car purchased in the U.S. now comes equipped with this potentially life-saving technology.

“This milestone demonstrates the power of collaboration between automakers and safety advocates in our shared goal of eliminating crashes,” said David Harkey, President of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). The commitment was brokered by IIHS and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in 2016.

The widespread adoption of AEB is expected to prevent an estimated 42,000 crashes and 20,000 injuries by 2025, according to IIHS research. This technology automatically applies the brakes if it detects an imminent collision, significantly reducing the severity of rear-end crashes and preventing them altogether in many cases.

The commitment also paves the way for stricter federal regulations. NHTSA has proposed requiring AEB on all new vehicles, including trucks and buses, with a phased implementation starting in 2024. This proposed rule builds on the progress made by the voluntary pledge and could further enhance safety on American roads.

“Thanks to this cooperation, automakers made this feature standard years ahead of a legal mandate,” said Harkey. “Now, with a federal regulation on the horizon, the progress we’ve made will be solidified and expanded upon.”

While the majority of automakers have met the initial target, some challenges remain. Equipping heavier vehicles (8,500-10,000 pounds) with AEB is still lagging, with only Mercedes-Benz and Nissan currently meeting the goal. Consumer Reports urges all manufacturers to prioritize AEB across their entire vehicle range, regardless of weight.

The road to safer roads continues, with ongoing efforts to improve AEB technology and extend its effectiveness to higher speeds and diverse driving scenarios. But the successful completion of this voluntary pledge marks a significant milestone, proving that collaboration can drive meaningful progress in reducing traffic fatalities.


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