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NHTSA proposes AEB requirements for new vehicles

June 5, 2023
According to the government department, adding automatic emergency braking requirements for newer vehicles would reduce both fatalities and injuries.

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that would require automatic emergency braking (AEB) and pedestrian AEB systems on passenger cars and light trucks. The proposed rule is expected to dramatically reduce crashes associated with pedestrians and rear-end crashes.   

NHTSA projects that this proposed rule, if finalized, would save at least 360 lives a year and reduce injuries by at least 24,000 annually. In addition, these AEB systems would result in significant reductions in property damage caused by rear-end crashes. Many crashes would be avoided altogether, while others would be less destructive.   

Read more: NHTSA raises potential side underride guard mandate

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

The proposed rule is a key component of the Department’s National Roadway Safety Strategy, which was launched in January 2022 to address the national crisis in traffic fatalities and serious injuries. As part of the safe system approach, this rule highlights safer vehicles and USDOT’s effort to expand vehicle systems and features that help to prevent crashes.   

The NRSS is complemented by unprecedented safety funding included in President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, and in February, the Department announced more than $800 million in grants to help communities carry out projects that can address high-crash areas. DOT also launched the next phase of the NRSS, its Call to Action campaign, and released a one-year progress report and accompanying data visualizations that highlight the extent and magnitude of the U.S. roadway safety problem.   

The Department’s other roadway safety actions include: 

  • Produced the Vulnerable Road User Safety Assessment to guide states on required 2023 assessments. 
  • Issued the Complete Streets Report to Congress: “Moving to a Complete Streets Design Model.”
  • Issued a final rule on rear impact guards.
  • Advanced the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices rulemaking effort, analyzing and resolving the more than 25,000 public comments. 
  • Published an Advance Supplemental Notice of Proposed Rulemaking concerning speed limiters with a motor carrier-based approach.
  • Made significant progress to advance pedestrian automatic emergency braking rulemaking.
  • Issued a Standing General Order to collect more data about crashes that occur when automated driving systems and advanced driver assistance systems are engaged. 

An AEB system uses various sensor technologies and sub-systems that work together to detect when the vehicle is close to crashing, and then automatically applies the vehicle brakes if the driver has not done so, or applies more braking force to supplement the driver’s braking as necessary to avoid or mitigate the severity of the crash.   

If adopted as proposed, nearly all U.S. light vehicles (gross vehicle weight rating of 10,000 pounds or less) will be required to have AEB technology three years after the publication of a final rule. 

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