Emergency Braking a Must in All US Cars by 2023: What to Know

Emergency Braking a Must in All US Cars by 2023: What to Know

In a move aimed at enhancing road safety, a new regulation in the United States will require that all new passenger vehicles come equipped with automatic emergency braking. This mandate, set to save hundreds of lives and prevent thousands of injuries annually, was introduced by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) as a groundbreaking safety measure.

The regulation, considered the most significant in two decades by the government, targets the prevention of rear-end and pedestrian collisions, with the overarching goal of reducing the alarming rate of approximately 40,000 traffic-related deaths each year. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg underscored the urgency of addressing the current crisis in roadway fatalities, stating the necessity of implementing technological solutions.

While approximately 90% of new vehicles already include automatic braking under a voluntary agreement with automakers, the absence of performance standards has raised concerns about its effectiveness. The new rules establish definitive criteria for vehicles to autonomously stop to avoid collisions with other vehicles or pedestrians, even in low-light conditions or nighttime.

Secretary Buttigieg emphasized the pivotal role of technology in curbing fatalities, expressing the need for stringent performance benchmarks to ensure maximum effectiveness. The regulation stipulates that all passenger vehicles under 10,000 pounds must feature forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, and pedestrian detection braking systems.

Moreover, the standards necessitate vehicles to halt and prevent collisions with front vehicles at speeds up to 62 miles per hour, with automatic braking applying at speeds of up to 90 mph in imminent collision scenarios. The systems are also mandated to detect pedestrians both day and night, with capabilities to avoid impact at speeds ranging from 31 to 40 mph depending on the pedestrians’ behaviors and locations.

The data provided by NHTSA highlighted the prevalence of rear-end collisions, discovering that nearly 2.2 million such crashes were recorded in 2019, resulting in 1,798 fatalities and 574,000 injuries. Furthermore, pedestrian fatalities accounted for a significant portion of casualties, with 6,272 pedestrians losing their lives in vehicular accidents, indicating the critical need for enhanced safety measures.

While the regulation addresses the imperative for automatic emergency braking systems, critics have expressed reservations regarding the absence of explicit requirements for identifying cyclists and scooter users. Advocates have contended that the inclusion of such standards would further bolster road safety and reduce the risk for vulnerable road users.

As the automotive industry prepares for the implementation of these new regulations, challenges such as cost implications and technological enhancements are expected to shape the adaptation process. Despite anticipated increases in vehicle prices and engineering investments estimated at $354 million annually, the projected outcomes include saving 362 lives, preventing 24,000 injuries, and mitigating significant property damage.

The road ahead entails a transformative shift toward safer driving experiences, as the integration of automatic emergency braking technology aims to revolutionize vehicle safety standards and contribute to a substantial reduction in preventable road tragedies.

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