Regulators Push for Automatic Emergency Braking in US Vehicles

Regulators Push for Automatic Emergency Braking in US Vehicles wsjnewspaper

US Vehicles: Regulators Urge Mandatory Automatic Emergency Braking in Future Cars and Trucks. This initiative aims to save lives and reduce injuries resulting from car accidents.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) introduced a new regulation proposal on Wednesday, requiring automakers to equip their vehicles with this advanced safety technology. Automatic emergency braking utilizes a combination of sensors and software to detect potential hazards on the road and automatically apply the brakes if the driver fails to respond in time.

This regulatory move signifies a significant advancement in harnessing automated driving technology, which has predominantly been offered as an optional feature by automakers. It is a response to the concerning increase in traffic fatalities observed in recent years.

NHTSA estimates that this proposed mandate could annually save a minimum of 360 lives and prevent at least 24,000 injuries.

Get Wall Street Journal 2-Year Print Subscription for $480

If approved, the new requirement for automatic emergency braking implementation would give automakers a grace period of up to three years to comply.

The regulation specifies certain capabilities for the technology, including the ability to bring the vehicle to a halt and prevent collisions with vehicles ahead when traveling at speeds of up to 62 miles per hour. Additionally, it should be capable of detecting and avoiding pedestrians at night, according to Ann Carlson, NHTSA’s chief counsel.

Carlson described the proposed rule as a significant step forward in terms of safety.

In 2020, vehicle crashes claimed the lives of nearly 43,000 individuals, representing a nearly 19% increase compared to 2019, as reported by NHTSA.

The Governors Highway Safety Association, which represents state highway-safety offices, revealed that pedestrian deaths rose by 18% between the first halves of 2019 and 2022.

Get Wall Street Journal Newspaper for $318

Although automakers voluntarily agreed in 2016 to make automatic emergency braking a standard feature, the commitment lacked specific specifications that would enhance its effectiveness in reducing injuries and fatalities, according to regulators.

Automakers, who market this technology as a safety measure, have also faced challenges in perfecting it. Many drivers have reported software glitches and incidents of unexpected braking, commonly known as phantom braking.

Furthermore, NHTSA has been investigating potential defects associated with automatic emergency braking systems produced by several car manufacturers, including Nissan Motor and Tesla.

The agency expects car companies to design braking systems that minimize the occurrence of false activations.

The next step involves gathering public comments on the proposed rule, signaling a comprehensive evaluation process before its potential implementation.

Sales Support