WASHINGTON – Crash-prevention technology is on a fast track to dealerships as 10 major automakers late last week vowed to make automatic emergency braking a standard feature on all new vehicles.
The agreement was announced on Friday by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
Audi, BMW, Ford, General Motors, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz, Tesla, Toyota, Volkswagen and Volvo are working to bring the technology to vehicles “as soon as possible,” NHTSA said in a statement.
A timeline for the rollout is expected later.
Automatic emergency braking includes a range of systems to prevent rear-end crashes and apply the brakes automatically. The technology is available now, but mostly as an option on high-end models.
“We are entering a new era of vehicle safety, focused on preventing crashes from ever occurring, rather than just protecting occupants when crashes happen,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “But if technologies such as automatic emergency braking are only available as options or on the most expensive models, too few Americans will see the benefits of this new era.”
General Motors said it supports the push for making forward-collision warning and automatic emergency braking standard on light vehicles.
But it noted that both technologies are available today “on dozens of 2016 Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac models.”
Nineteen GM models offer both technologies.
Automatic emergency braking is optional on the 2016 Chevrolet Equinox, Impala, Malibu, Tahoe, Traverse and Silverado. GM first rolled out the safety features on the 2013 Cadillac XTS, ATS and SRX.
Volvo noted it already has approximately 250,000 vehicles on U.S. roads with forward-collision warning and automatic emergency braking.
Volvo introduced low-speed automatic emergency braking as standard on the 2009 XC60, and the technology became standard in all Volvos by 2014.
A recent report from the IIHS shows that automatic emergency braking technology can cut insurance injury claims by as much as 35 percent.
Edmunds says: In the near future, car shoppers won’t have to pay extra for this life-saving technology.