Majority of Automakers Dont Equip Cars with Automatic Emergency Braking
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Majority of Automakers Dont Equip Cars with Automatic Emergency Braking

Wednesday, July 18, 2018By Nina Shapirshteyn

Automatic emergency braking (AEB) is a technological advancement that has significantly improved passenger and driver safety on the roads according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). AEB systems are designed to detect an impending collision with another vehicle in sufficient time to avoid the crash or alleviate the potential outcome of a rear-end crash. If contact with a car is imminent and a driver cannot take action to avoid it, the AEB system will automatically employ the brakes to minimize contact.

AEB incorporates advanced systems such as dynamic brake support and crash imminent braking, which the NHTSA regards as critical in saving lives and mitigating injuries in rear-end crashes. The statistics highlight the importance of incorporating this system into cars; the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety found that AEB reduces rear-end collisions by an average of 39 percent.

Given the efficacy of this technology in improving road safety, it would seem that automakers should be required to install AEB systems in all their vehicles. However, the NHTSA has refrained from implementing regulations requiring that AEB technology be installed in every car. Rather, it permitted 20 automakers to commit to installing AEB on a voluntary basis. This voluntary action was to be completed by September 1, 2022. The automakers include BMW, Fiat Chrysler, Ford, General Motors, Honda, Nissan, Toyota and Volvo, among others.

However, only four of the 20 automakers have installed this technology in more than half of their 2017 model cars. Safety experts and critics of this voluntary program are not surprised. They argue that safety measures should not be implemented on a voluntary basis and at the discretion of automakers. They also point to the absence of mandatory measures as evidence that the federal agency is too deferential to automakers. The Center for Auto Safety has also weighed in on this controversy and blasted federal regulators for allowing automakers to choose whether they will equip their products with lifesaving technologies, thereby taking unnecessary risks with the lives of drivers and passengers. The NHTSA has responded that voluntary agreements to equip cars with AEB are sufficient and no further action is necessary at this time.

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