Slate’s Law Blog

New Federal Regulation Requires Car Manufacturers to Implement Automatic Emergency Braking

When a new vehicle safety feature becomes available, the public tends to grumble about it before they embrace it. In the 1970s, when the movement for seatbelt laws gained traction, people complained that they took away the danger of driving, even though reducing danger is the purpose of seatbelts, despite that some people seemed to think that driving was supposed to be an adventure first and a pragmatic mode of transportation second. Some seemed to think that the fatal injuries of flying through the windshield were preferable to a bruise on your thighs if the seat belt tightened to keep you in place when your car crashed.  

Likewise, with airbags, people seemed to worry that face-planting into an inflated airbag would be worse than faceplanting into the steering wheel. Now we cannot imagine cars without seatbelts or airbags. 

Automatic emergency braking is about to become the next safety feature so common that we take it for granted. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has enacted a new regulation, whereby all cars starting in the model year 2029 must have automatic emergency braking (AEB) as a standard feature. If you have suffered serious injuries in a collision that AEB could have prevented, contact a Santa Fe car accident lawyer.

Automatic Emergency Braking: The State of the Art

AEB technology has existed for more than a decade, but in 2016, several major car manufacturers signed an agreement to include it as a standard feature in their cars. It uses cameras and sensors to detect when an object in the car’s path is stationary or is moving so slowly that the car will crash into it if it does not brake. The technology works best in daylight hours when the car is not moving very fast. Therefore, it can easily prevent you from hitting a car that is driving through the parking lot as you are backing out of a parking space. It has also substantially reduced rear-end collisions, which often occur in slow-moving city traffic; these collisions tend not to cause catastrophic injuries, but they still cause major financial losses each year in terms of medical bills and vehicle repairs. They are less effective at stopping a drunk driver who is driving at 90 miles per hour at night from hitting a pedestrian, a tree, or an oncoming car after the drunk driver crosses the centerline.

The new regulations require cars released during and after model year 2029 to have AEB that works at speeds up to 62 miles per hour, which encompasses all city street speed limits and some areas of the highway. It would also require them to use sensors that are more effective at detecting obstacles in low light.

Contact Slate Stern About Car Accident Lawsuits

Slate Stern is a personal injury lawyer who represents plaintiffs injured in car accidents. Contact Slate Stern in Santa Fe, New Mexico or call (505)814-1517 to discuss your case.


US safety regulations will require better automatic braking | CNN Business

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