The U.S. Transportation Department has proposed that most new light vehicles come with automatic emergency braking.
It says the rule, if adopted, would dramatically cut accidents involving pedestrians and rear-end collisions, saving at least 360 people’s lives and preventing 24,000 injuries each year.
“Many crashes would be avoided altogether, while others would be less destructive,” the department said in a press release announcing the proposed rule.
It’s part of an effort the department started last year to address what it calls a national crisis in traffic fatalities and serious injuries. Many late-model vehicles already have the technology, but the rule would make it a requirement.
“Just as lifesaving innovations from previous generations like seat belts and air bags have helped improve safety, requiring automatic emergency braking on cars and trucks would keep all of us safer on our roads,” said Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg.
The rule would require an autonomous emergency braking system, or AEB, which tracks the road in front of a moving vehicle and stops the vehicle to avoid any collisions if the driver hasn’t done so. It would also apply additional braking force to supplement the driver’s braking if needed to avoid or lessen the severity of a crash.
The proposal is part of the infrastructure law passed by Congress in 2021. If adopted, AEB systems would be required in new vehicles within three years of it being finalized. There’ll be a 60-day public comment period on the proposal before it’s final.