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Car makers adopt automatic braking

Existing crash avoidance technologies, such as automatic braking, can help avoid fatal car accidents caused by driver inattention or a distracted driver. The National Highway Transportation and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety recently announced that 20 car manufacturers, representing over 90 percent of the nation's market, will install automatic braking as a standard feature on almost all new cars by September of 2022.

This agreement should hasten the installation of these systems by three years by eliminating the necessity for formal regulations. The IIHS estimates that these systems could prevent the 28,000 accidents and 12,000 injuries that would have occurred during that period. According to its research, these systems could lower rear-end collisions by 40 percent.

AEB systems prevent or lower the severity of accidents by automatically applying the brakes for the motorist. The systems are comprised of radar, cameras, lasers or other sensors that detect an impending crash, warn the driver and automatically apply the car's brakes when the driver does not quickly respond to the imminent danger.

As part of the agreement, manufacturers will ensure that vehicles are equipped with forward collision warning systems meeting the NHTSA's 5-Star Safety Ratings program for the timing of driver alerts. Vehicles will also have an automatic braking system that has an advanced rating for the IIHS track tests comprised of baseline performance measures of a speed reduction of at least 10 miles per hour in the IIHS 12 or 25 miles per hour tests or a reduction of five miles per hour in both tests.

Almost all light-duty cars and trucks with a gross weight of 8,500 pounds or less will be equipped with this technology by September 1, 2022. AEB systems will be standard on most trucks with a gross weight between 8,501 and 10,000 pounds by September 1, 2025.

This agreement incorporates the expected evolution of this technology and also incorporates current research and crash data. To help assure compliance, Consumer Reports will monitor manufacturers progress with meeting their commitment.

While this agreement is a positive step for driver safety, AEB systems will not be a standard feature for vehicles in Connecticut and throughout the United States for 16 years. Motorists and passengers will continue to face the risk of a serious injury that could have been prevented.

Source: National Highway Transportation and Safety Administration, "U.S. DOT and IIHS announce historic commitment of 20 automakers to make automatic braking standard on new vehicles" and "Fact sheet/auto industry commitment to IIHS and NHTSA on automatic emergency braking," Accessed March 21, 2016

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