Automatic Emergency Braking Fiasco: Auto Industry Lobbies Against Government Rule to Save Lives

Detroit, Michigan – The Alliance for Automotive Innovation, representing major automakers, is urging the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to reconsider its recent ruling mandating robust automatic emergency braking systems in all US vehicles. The group argues that the current technology falls short of meeting government standards and that the industry’s input was dismissed during the rulemaking process.

In a letter addressed to both NHTSA and Congress, the alliance’s president and CEO, John Bozzella, expressed concerns that driving vehicles equipped with the new standard could lead to unpredictable and erratic behaviors, potentially frustrating drivers. The ruling, finalized by the US Department of Transportation last April, requires all vehicle manufacturers to implement automatic emergency braking by 2029 to prevent fatalities and injuries.

Under the new rule, vehicles must have the capability to stop and avoid collisions with vehicles ahead at speeds up to 62mph, apply brakes automatically when a collision is imminent with a lead vehicle at up to 90 mph, and detect pedestrians at speeds up to 45 mph in various lighting conditions. However, the alliance contends that the current AEB systems are ineffective in preventing certain types of crashes, such as T-bones and left-turn collisions, which account for a significant portion of fatal accidents.

Furthermore, the alliance highlights that implementing the new rule could lead to vehicles applying brakes prematurely, potentially increasing the risk of rear-end collisions. They also point out the additional costs associated with installing the necessary hardware and software changes, making vehicles more expensive for consumers. Additionally, autonomous vehicles, like those from Waymo, have been rear-ended by human drivers due to their conservative approach to braking for obstacles and pedestrians on the road.

Despite safety advocates initially praising NHTSA’s ruling for its potential to reduce deadly crashes and safeguard road users, concerns remain about the effectiveness and practicality of the new standards. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, while welcoming the initiative, expressed disappointment in the extended timeline for implementation, emphasizing the importance of balancing safety improvements with realistic expectations and technological capabilities.