Automatic Brakes Will Be in All Cars by 2022: What to Know About the New Standards

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(ABC News) — Automatic emergency braking will no longer be a high-tech option in pricey cars. In six years, the feature will be standard in all new cars, auto makers and regulators announced today.

Twenty auto makers representing more than 99 percent of the U.S. car market announced with the U.S. Department of Transportation their commitment to making it a standard feature by Sept. 1, 2022.

This follows the requirement announced by the DOT in 2014 that backup cameras will be required in all vehicles built in and after May 2018.

Akshay Anand, analyst at Kelley Blue Book, said, “This auto-braking agreement should include even more automakers in short order, as every automaker has the technology. As we barrel towards autonomous driving, the agreement makes total sense. Expect more technology features to become industry-standard going forward.”

Here’s what you need to know about the commitment and the car feature:

1. What is automatic emergency braking?

Automatic emergency braking can help prevent car crashes or reduce their severity by applying brakes for the driver. The system uses sensors such as radar, cameras or lasers to detect an imminent crash, warning the driver and applying the brakes if the driver doesn’t respond quickly enough.

2. Which cars are affected?

The agreement announced today affects nearly all light-duty cars and trucks with a weight of 8,500 pounds or less by Sept. 1, 2022. The deadline extends three years later for trucks weighing between 8,501 pounds and 10,000 pounds.

3. How does this affect car safety?

This agreement will expedite automatic emergency braking standards three years faster than what the formal regulatory process could have accomplished, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates. In that time, the technology will have prevented 28,000 crashes and 12,000 injuries, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety estimates. The technology would reduce rear-end crashes by 40 percent, IIHS research shows.

The systems must meet the NHTSA’s five-star safety ratings program on the timing of driver alerts. The baseline performance measures are a speed reduction of at least 10 mph in either 12 or 25 mph tests, or a speed reduction of 5 mph in both of the tests.

4. Will the cost of cars increase?

Every time a new safety technology becomes standard on modern cars it adds to the costs of production, Karl Brauer, senior analyst for Kelley Blue Book, told ABC News.

“Each of these technologies is relatively small in expense, usually only a few hundred dollars, but in aggregate they can result in a substantial portion of a car’s price, especially for lower-priced models,” Brauer said. “The rising cost of modern cars is driven by many factors, and this is definitely one of them.”

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