Automakers urge NHTSA to abandon new automatic emergency braking rule

In recent years, there has been a push to increase the safety features in vehicles to help reduce the number of accidents on the road. One of the most recent regulations imposed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) requires all new cars and trucks by 2029 to have advanced automatic emergency braking systems. However, this rule has faced pushback from the Alliance for Automotive Innovation, representing major automakers like General Motors, Toyota Motor, and Volkswagen. This article will explore the arguments made by the automakers against the rule, the concerns raised by safety advocates, and the potential impact of the new regulations on road safety.

1. Concerns Raised by Automakers
The Alliance for Automotive Innovation argues that the requirement for all vehicles to be able to stop and avoid striking vehicles in front of them at up to 62 miles per hour is “practically impossible with available technology.” They claim that the stringent requirements set by NHTSA will result in vehicles applying brakes far in advance of what a typical driver would expect, potentially causing rear-end collisions. The group also believes that NHTSA has underestimated the necessary hardware and software changes required for vehicles to comply with the new regulations.

2. Impact on Driver and Pedestrian Safety
While safety advocates support the new regulations, they argue that existing systems were not performing well, especially at night. They believe that the new rules are necessary to ensure that more crashes are avoided on the road. NHTSA estimates that the rule will save at least 360 lives annually and prevent at least 24,000 injuries, particularly as traffic deaths spiked after the COVID-19 pandemic.

3. European Standard vs. U.S. Regulation
Automakers have suggested that NHTSA should adopt a European standard that focuses on detecting potential forward collisions, providing driver warnings, and automatically engaging the braking system. This approach has been used in other parts of the world and could potentially be more effective in preventing accidents on the road. However, there are concerns about the compatibility of this standard with the existing infrastructure in the United States.

4. Voluntary vs. Regulated Compliance
In 2016, 20 automakers voluntarily agreed to make automatic emergency braking standard on nearly all U.S. vehicles by 2022, with at least 95% of vehicles already equipped with AEB by December. Critics argue that without government regulations, there is no way to ensure the effectiveness of these systems. NHTSA initially proposed requiring nearly all vehicles to comply with the new regulations within three years, but automakers are now getting an additional two years to make the necessary changes.

5. Conclusion
The debate over the new regulations requiring advanced automatic emergency braking systems in all vehicles by 2029 highlights the ongoing tension between safety standards and technological limitations in the automotive industry. While safety advocates believe that the new rules will help prevent crashes and save lives, automakers are concerned about the feasibility and cost of implementing these changes. Moving forward, it will be essential to strike a balance between innovation, safety, and regulatory compliance to ensure that the roads are safe for all drivers and pedestrians.

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