USA TODAY US Edition
10 major automakers will add automatic braking
Ten major automakers have come up with an agreement to add automatic emergency braking as a standard feature on all their new cars, a feature that could reduce auto insurance claims by as much as 35%.
The deal was announced by the U.S. Department of Transportation, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the auto-safety arm of the insurance industry, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
Automatic emergency braking involves radar, sensors and lasers that can detect when another vehicle is stopped ahead and warn the driver. If the driver doesn’t react, the car will automatically slam on the brakes and bring itself to a stop before a rear-end accident can occur.
It’s already in some mid-market vehicles now, usually as a $250 to $400 option, but the agreement would bring it to every vehicle. It could represent the next big safety advancement that could have the impact of seat belts, anti-lock brakes and traction control.
“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,” says Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx in a statement. “These 10 companies are committing to making AEB available to all new-car buyers.”
Audi, BMW, Ford, General Motors, Mazda, Mercedes Benz, Tesla, Toyota, Volkswagen and Volvo have all agreed to come up with the details with the agencies, including a timeline, the Transportation Department announced. Together, they represented 57% of new vehicle sales in 2014.
Foxx says the braking represents a new era aimed at preventing accidents, rather than simply trying to protect passengers when they happen. The agreement shows, too, that the government is willing to work with automakers rather than simply mandate safety improvements.