Statement on Final Rule to Require Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB) with Pedestrian Detection for All New Passenger Vehicles and Light Trucks

  • April 29, 2024
150 150 Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety


Statement on Final Rule to Require Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB) with Pedestrian Detection for All New Passenger Vehicles and Light Trucks

Action by Bipartisan Congress and Biden Administration will save hundreds of lives, thousands of injuries, and billions of dollars every year.

April 29, 2024 | (Washington, DC): In a momentous leap forward for roadway safety, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) issued a Final Rule that requires automatic emergency braking (AEB) with pedestrian detection on all new passenger vehicles and light trucks by September 1, 2029. The rule was mandated in the 2021 Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA, Pub. L. 117-58), also known as the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL).

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2022, nearly 43,000 people died in motor vehicle crashes, including over 7,500 pedestrians, the highest number since 1981. Also in 2022, an astounding 2.38 million people were injured. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), AEB can decrease front-to-rear crashes with injuries by 56 percent and front-to-rear crashes by 50 percent.[1] Data from NHTSA in support of this new regulation shows that conservatively, it will save over 360 lives, 24,000 injuries and over $5 billion every year.

We commend President Joe Biden, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, NHTSA Deputy Administrator Sophie Shulman and her team, and Congress, specifically the sponsors of AEB legislation, Senators Richard Durbin (D-IL) and Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) and Representatives Frank Pallone (D-NJ) and Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), for bringing this lifesaving rule over the finish line. We also thank the numerous motor vehicle crash victims and survivors who shared their harrowing stories to help propel this effort and protect others from suffering similar tragedies. This tremendous leadership and participation exemplify our federal government and citizens working together to advance proven technology that will prevent countless crashes and help keep families safe and whole.

“After years of skyrocketing traffic fatalities, NHTSA’s historic action on AEB is a true game changer. It  will protect road users from crashes, including pedestrians who accounted for almost a fifth of all traffic fatalities in 2022. Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety has been consistent, persistent and insistent for a decade pushing to get a comprehensive AEB safety standard. This rule is a major victory for all consumers and public safety.” Cathy Chase, President, Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety (Advocates)

“We are in the middle of a full-blown safety crisis on our nation’s highways. I am thrilled that the U.S. DOT has issued this life-giving AEB safety standard with pedestrian detection for all new passenger cars and light trucks. As a former NHTSA administrator, I know requiring AEB as standard equipment will prevent or mitigate injury in tens of thousands front-to-rear crashes every year. This new safety rule, by preventing or reducing the force of highway crashes, matches the importance of airbags and safety belts that prevent or reduce harm to occupants when crashes do occur. It also assures AEB is no longer a luxury feature reserved only for those who can afford it as optional equipment. This safety system is a proven innovation that should be hailed, honored and heralded.” Joan Claybrook, Former Administrator, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

“I am pleased to see the U.S. DOT take concrete action to reduce fatalities and injuries by completing the rulemaking on AEB with pedestrian detection for passenger vehicles and light trucks. Because of this step, hundreds of families every year will be saved from losing a loved one and thousands of people won’t experience the heartache and pain caused by a crash. The U.S. DOT, NHTSA, Congress and safety advocates should be commended for advancing this rule which will benefit all road users for the foreseeable future.” Matt Gannon, Head of Federal and Eastern State Legislative Affairs, Farmers Insurance, and Insurance Co-Chair of Advocates’ Board of Directors

“Before this day is over, 116 people will die in a motor vehicle crash and another 6,575 will be injured, on average. While the new AEB rule won’t be a panacea for this crisis, it’s a significant part of the traffic safety toolbox that will one day put these horrifying statistics behind us. It is heartening that when consumers go to auto showrooms where they often are making one of the largest purchases in their family budgets, they will have the assurance of safety performance standards for AEBs. DOT’s action on AEB will go down as a watershed moment in the fight for more equitable, safer roadways for all.” Jack Gillis, Former Executive Director, Consumer Federation of America, and Consumer Co-Chair of Advocates’ Board of Directors

NOTE: At the time of release of this statement, Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety (Advocates) has not reviewed the Final Rule in its entirety with thorough detail. Additionally, Advocates will continue to urge Congress and the U.S. DOT to enhance the rule including for AEB to detect bicyclists and other vulnerable road users.


About Advocates

Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety is an alliance of consumer, medical, public health, law enforcement and safety groups and insurance companies and agents working together to make America’s roads safer. Advocates’ mission is the adoption of federal and state laws, policies and programs that prevent motor vehicle crashes, save lives, reduce injuries, and contain costs.