WASHINGTON, D.C. – The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced Wednesday its notice of proposed rulemaking, which would require automatic emergency braking (AEB) and pedestrian AEB systems on new passenger cars and light trucks. In 2016, the National Safety Council (NSC) stood with NHTSA in support of the voluntary adoption of AEB, knowing it would be a first step to this point of requiring the technology. NSC is thrilled we are now here—a significant step closer to getting safer vehicles on American roads, a pillar of the Safe System approach, which takes a holistic look at road safety and serves as the foundational framework for the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Roadway Safety Strategy.
The proposed rule requires full collision avoidance at speeds up to 50 mph and sets pedestrian AEB performance standards in all lighting conditions at speeds up to 37 mph. If finalized, NHTSA projects the rule in action would reduce injuries by at least 24,000 and save nearly 360 lives each year, pushing the country closer to achieving the goal of zero traffic fatalities. With NHTSA estimating nearly 7,400 pedestrians died in traffic crashes in 2021 coupled with NSC estimates showing motor vehicle deaths in the U.S. topped 46,000 for a second consecutive year in 2022, a rule like this is critical to saving lives.
As work on AEB continues, we hope to see this requirement extend to large trucks as well, an important segment of road users. NSC stands ready to continue working with employers, policymakers, government agencies, and community leaders across public and private sectors to prioritize the safe mobility for all roadway users in the U.S.
About the National Safety Council
The National Safety Council is America’s leading nonprofit safety advocate – and has been for more than 100 years. As a mission-based organization, we work to eliminate the leading causes of preventable death and injury, focusing our efforts on the workplace, roadway and impairment. We create a culture of safety to not only keep people safer at work, but also beyond the workplace so they can live their fullest lives.