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Automatic emergency braking systems are a technological solution to a common type of car accident, the rear-end collision. Distracted, fatigued, impaired or infirm drivers may apply brakes too late or too softly to avoid an accident. AEB systems provide automatic braking or supplemental braking to reduce the severity of a crash or avoid it altogether. These systems are not standard features on new vehicles at this time. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recently took steps to encourage the technology, without going through the process of making it a federal requirement.

According to the NHTSA, there are roughly 1.7 million rear-end accidents per year. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety claims that AEB technology could reduce insurance industry claims by as much as 35 percent by helping drivers avoid or mitigate the damage related to these collisions. While AEB systems are promising, they are not common. Only 1 percent of new cars sold in 2015 came with automatic braking as a standard feature. It was an available option on 26 percent of 2015 vehicles.

Instead of pursuing a federal requirement for automakers to include AEB systems as standard equipment, the NHTSA is looking for volunteers. General Motors, Toyota and Volkswagen all reached an agreement with the NHTSA and the IIHS to make automatic brakes a standard feature in the near future. The administrator of the NHTSA further encouraged other automakers to “join this effort” in making AEB standard equipment. The IIHS has already limited its highest safety rating to vehicles with AEB systems.

Source: Tire Business, “Automatic brakes on fast track, with NHTSA stepping on gas,” by Ryan Beene, 15 September 2015