A new regulation mandates the implementation of automatic emergency braking systems capable of operating at speeds of up to 90 miles per hour

Nationwide, automatic emergency braking is now required. A new Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard that was finalized by the US Department of Transportation requires all automobile manufacturers to equip light-duty vehicles—such as passenger cars, SUVs, and pickup trucks—with automated emergency braking systems by the year 2029. The goal of this regulation is to reduce the tens of thousands of injuries and hundreds of deaths that occur each year.

Additionally, a comparable rule for heavy-duty trucks weighing more than 10,000 pounds is now being finalized by the Department of Transportation. Even while automated emergency braking (AEB) systems are standard on over 90% of light-duty cars now on the road, the new regulation requires automakers to install an improved version of the technology. Even at night, this updated AEB system needs to be able to identify and stop faster-moving vehicles as well as vulnerable road users like pedestrians and bicycles. The Department of Transportation reports that all cars must now be able to “stop and avoid contact with a vehicle in front of them up to 62 miles per hour,” in addition to having the ability to recognize pedestrians in both light and dark. Furthermore, when an impending accident with a lead vehicle is imminent, Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB) systems must automatically apply the brakes “up to 90 mph when a pedestrian is detected, and up to 45 mph when a pedestrian is detected.”

The new rule requires automakers to improve their current AEB systems, which have shown successful in averting rear-end collisions at low speeds but have showed shortcomings at higher, though still frequent, speeds. After thorough testing on AEB systems, the American Automobile Association (AAA) has determined various situations in which the braking technology does not function as promised.

Remarkably, it is still difficult to prevent T-bone and left-turn collisions with AEB; these types of collisions account for about forty percent of fatal fatalities. In addition, a lot of AEB systems have trouble preventing cars from hitting kids, and at night, they become even less effective.

The new standard’s introduction and the minor decline in traffic fatalities—which had increased during the pandemic—occur simultaneously. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that there were 42,514 traffic-related deaths in 2023, a decrease of 3.6 percent from the year before. But this was the third year in a row that there were more than 40,000 fatalities from traffic accidents.

Image by: ABC News

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