Sensor-Based Emergency Braking Systems Added To List For Five-Star Ratings Starting In 2018

If you plan to start shopping for a new car in 2018, you’ll have a longer list of recommended safety features to look for. Federal regulators are set to include automatic emergency braking as a recommended safety technology when distributing 5-star safety ratings starting in three years. 

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced Monday that it would update its 5-Star Rating System to include automatic emergency braking (AEB) technology – which includes two systems – to the list of recommended safety programs in new vehicles.

“AEB can substantially enhance safety, especially with the number of distracted drivers on the road,” Anthony Foxx, Transportation Secretary said, noting that the systems can “save lives and should be widely accessible.”

AEB technology works through two systems: crash imminent braking (CIB) and dynamic brake support (DBS). CIB applies the brakes in cases where a rear-end crash is imminent and the driver isn’t taking action to avoid the collision. DBS supplements a driver’s braking input if the driver isn’t applying sufficient force to avoid a rear-end crash.

“We’re putting the brakes on rear-end crashes,” NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind, said in a statement. “Wherever possible, NHTSA will encourage and accelerate technological innovations that save lives.”

Monday’s announcement caps more than two years of talks between NHTSA, the Department of Transportation and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety to accelerate the spread of crash-avoidance technology.

Back in May 2013, NHTSA first said it would consider requiring the technology in all future vehicles. At the time, regulators were in the process of conducting research on the systems that dynamically engage brakes without driver input to avoid impending crashes.

Regulators say the sensor-based technology could help to save hundreds, if not thousands, of lives each year by warning inattentive drivers or by intervening to prevent crashes. According to NHTSA data, nearly 60% of fatal highway accidents are caused by inattentive drivers.

Researchers found that one-third of police reported crashes in 2013 involved rear-end collisions; a large number of those crashes were a result of drivers not applying the brakes or not fully braking.

The new 5-Star Rating recommendation comes two months after 10 automakers pledged to include the sensor-based AEB systems in their new vehicles.

Audi, BMW, Ford, General Motors, Mazda, Mercedes Benz, Tesla, Toyota, Volkswagen and Volvo will work with the IIHS and NHTSA in the coming months to create a plan for implementing the system as a standard feature on vehicles.

“We are entering a new era of vehicle safety, focused on preventing crashes from ever occurring, rather than just protecting occupants when crashes happen,” Transportation Secretary Foxx said at the time.

To help prospective vehicle buyers understand the systems and their impact on the ratings system, NHTSA has created an information page and video depicting scenarios where AEB is used to prevent a crash.

[via The Detroit Free Press]

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