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July 15, 2024
NHTSA Wants Auto Emergency Braking Standard On Big Trucks, Buses

Last month, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) proposed a new rule that would mandate automatic emergency braking (AEB) on passenger vehicles. The agency is expanding its scope by proposing the same rule for heavy-duty trucks and buses – vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating of over 10,000 pounds.

NHTSA estimates the technology could save 155 lives a year while preventing 8,814 injuries. The agency’s data says that approximately 60,000 heavy-duty vehicles are involved in rear-end crashes, and the technology could prevent over 19,000 of them annually.

The technology for passenger vehicles would see a similar increase in safety. The agency believes that requiring the technology could save a minimum of 340 lives a year and reduce injuries by 24,000 cars. The proposed rule would require the system to work on all passenger vehicles up to 62 miles per hour. NHTSA’s rule for heavy-duty vehicles would require the AEB system to work between 6 and 50 mph.

A 2022 Insurance Institute for Highway Safety study found that pickup trucks with the technology had a 43 percent lower rate of causing rear-end collisions. Injuries were also reduced by 42 percent. The study also discovered that only eight percent of all registered pickups on the road in 2021 came equipped with AEB. However, the good news is that new full-size trucks from Ford, Chevrolet, GMC, Ram, Toyota, Nissan, and Honda offer standard-issue AEB systems.

While the technology saves lives and reduces injuries, another IIHS study also found that vehicles with crash prevention technology like AEB are more finicky to repair. The institute’s research discovered that about half of those surveyed still had problems with these features after completing repairs. This makes these crucial systems less reliable and could lead to increased costs to fix down the road.

The proposal for both passenger cars and heavy-duty vehicles would go into effect three years after a final ruling is made on the two rules. NHTSA has not mentioned when a final verdict could happen, so customers might not see any changes in new vehicles, big or small, for several years, as automakers continue to increase standard safety features in new models.

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