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NHTSA and FMCSA propose new safety standard requiring automatic emergency braking systems in heavy vehicles

The US Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announced a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) that would require heavy vehicles to have automatic emergency braking (AEB) systems that will mitigate the frequency and severity of rear-end crashes.

An AEB system uses multiple sensor technologies that work together to detect a vehicle in a crash imminent situation. The system automatically applies the brakes if the driver has not done so, or, if needed, applies more braking force to supplement the driver’s braking. The proposed standard would require the technology to work at speeds ranging between low-speed (6 miles per hour) and high-speed (roughly 50 miles per hour) situations.

According to NHTSA statistics, there are approximately 60,000 rear-end crashes a year in which the heavy vehicle is the striking vehicle. Once implemented, NHTSA estimates the proposed rule will prevent 19,118 crashes, save 155 lives, and prevent 8,814 injuries annually.

NHTSA and FMCSA incorporated feedback from the safety advocacy community, industry representatives and other interested parties to address this critical safety need on America’s roads. The proposed rule, which fulfills a mandate under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, defines “heavy vehicles” as those having a gross vehicle weight greater than 10,000 pounds, such as heavy-duty trucks and buses. NHTSA proposed a similar rule that would require AEB systems in passenger vehicles and light trucks.

Public comments on the proposed rule will be accepted for 60 days.


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