Opinion: Why Automatic Braking Should Be Standard (video)

Volvo Safety

UPDATE 3/23/16: NHTSA announces 20 carmakers agree to make automatic braking standard by 2022. Toyota says it will do so by the end of 2017.

This is great news. Ten U.S. automakers say they’ll make Automatic Emergency Braking standard on all vehicles within five years.

It’s an announcement worth celebrating because automatic braking, or forward collision warning, is technology that can saves lives, but right now it’s not a standard feature in many makes and models. You have to pay extra for it and not everyone can afford to do so.

So all of us at the Car Pro are anxious to see that change as soon as possible.

The group of automakers includes Audi, BMW, Ford, General Motors, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz, Tesla, Toyota, Volkswagen and Volvo, and they’ll be hammering out all the details and timeline within the next few months in coordination with both the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

“There’s always going to be a need for regulations to keep the public safe,” NHTSA chief Mark Rosekind said. “This is a new convention and a new pact. NCAP (New Car Assessment Program) and IIHS programs will continue, and regulations are still available, and we use all paths to save lives. The industry in this case though, hasn’t waited for regulation.”

According to IIHS, just one percent of 2015 model year vehicles included automatic braking as a standard feature, while 26 percent included the technology as an option.

“If technologies such as automatic emergency braking are only available as options or on the most expensive models, too few Americans will see the benefits of this new era,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said in a statement. These 10 companies are committing to making AEB available to all new-car buyers.”

As far as economic impact when it comes to insurance, IIHS, which is funded by the insurance industry, says safety tech systems can reduce insurance claims for injuries by up to 35 percent. The safety group has already incorporated automatic braking systems into its safety rating system for vehicles. To earn the group’s highest rating, Top Safety Pick+, a vehicle must receive an “advanced” or “superior” rating for front-crash prevention and only vehicles with automatic brakes qualify for those ratings.

To sum things up, the new agreement is a fantastic step on the road to getting car safety technology into the hands of every driver, which will make the roads safer for us all. 

Photo Credit: Volvo
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