U.S. to require automatic emergency brakes in all cars by 2029

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The federal government will require all passenger cars and light trucks to include automatic emergency brakes (AEB) by 2029, in a push to reduce car crashes and accidents.
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The requirements come as part of a new rule finalized Monday by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Department of Transportation (DOT).
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AEB systems use sensors to detect when a vehicle is close to crashing into a vehicle or pedestrian in front of the car. When the sensors are activated, the brakes automatically kick in and stop the car if the driver does not. The DOT rule will also require cars to come equipped with pedestrian AEB technology, which is capable of detecting a pedestrian during the day or at night.
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The NHTSA predicts that about 360 deaths and “at least” 24,000 injuries will be prevented every year thanks to the new rule. The regulator estimates that 42,795 people died in car crashes in 2022. At least 7,508 pedestrians were struck and killed by drivers in 2022, the highest number since 1981, according to the Governors Highway Safety Association.
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“The new vehicle safety standards we finalized today will save hundreds of lives and prevent tens of thousands of injuries every year,” Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said in a statement.
The rule was applauded by consumer safety groups, including Consumer Reports, which considers AEB to be one of the biggest advances in auto safety over the past two decades. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, a leading auto safety group, has called pedestrian AEB a “game changer.”
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“People should be able to trust that the lifesaving technology on their car is going to be there for them when they need it, and that’s what this rule will accomplish,” William Wallace, an associate director of safety policy at the 88-year-old nonprofit, said in a statement Monday.
The total annual cost associated with the rule is about $354 million in 2020 dollars, according to the NHTSA’s final rule. But carmakers represented by the Alliance for Automotive Innovation(AAI) — an auto industry trade group that counts Ford Motor Co., Hyundai Motor Co., and Mercedes-Benz in its ranks — argue that those projections are too low. The group says the rule will cost each company $430 million.
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The trade association had also argued that requiring cars equipped with automatic brakes be capable of entirely avoiding contact with objects or people at high speeds was impractical.

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