Statement: Need for Bicycle Detection in the Automatic Emergency Braking Rule

  • June 6, 2023
150 150 Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety



Statement by Cathy Chase, President, Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, on the Need for Bicycle Detection in the Automatic Emergency Braking Rule

(Washington, DC-June 6, 2023) New research from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) finds that advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) which include automatic emergency braking (AEB) and other technologies can prevent real-world crashes involving bicycles. However, the systems they reviewed were better at preventing parallel crashes than crashes of other types. With nearly 1,000 bicyclists killed on roads annually, we urge the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to include bicycle detection in its rulemaking on AEB, which already proposes pedestrian detection. Absent a requirement for auto manufacturers to meet minimum standards that protect bicyclists, they will continue to be at unnecessary risk of injury or death.

Last week, NHTSA issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) to require AEB on all new passenger vehicles and light trucks, as required in the 2021 Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA, Pub. L. 117-58), known as the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL). While NHTSA includes pedestrian detection in the NPRM for AEB, glaringly, bicycle detection is missing. The standards for AEB must ensure all road users, whether inside or outside the vehicle, including bicycles, are protected in all lighting conditions and at all appropriate speeds.

In 2021, traffic fatalities reached nearly 43,000, and preliminary 2022 data show there is no sign of abating. Tragically, bicycle deaths have risen more than 50 percent since 2010 along with a 13 percent increase in pedestrian fatalities, according to NHTSA. This carnage must stop. Commonsense solutions are available, but they must be implemented.

In addition to this rulemaking, NHTSA must advance other final rules on minimum performance standards for verified crash avoidance technologies, including AEB for all new trucks, lane departure warning (LDW) and lane keeping assist (LKA) for new vehicles, as well as impaired driving prevention and vehicular heatstroke “hot cars” detection and alert technology.

By expeditiously completing overdue rulemakings and those in the BIL, the Biden Administration has the opportunity to significantly reduce the skyrocketing fatalities occurring on our roadways. The sooner safety technology is required in all new vehicles, the more lives will be saved.

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.

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