Statement: Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to require automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection

  • May 31, 2023
150 150 Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety


Statement by Cathy Chase, President,

Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety (Advocates), on Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to require automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection

(Washington, DC-May 31, 2023) The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) to require automatic emergency braking (AEB) with pedestrian detection on all new passenger vehicles and light trucks, as required in the 2021 Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA, Pub. L. 117-58). Advocates commends Congress for including this requirement in the IIJA and Senators Richard Durbin (D-IL) and Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) as well as Representatives Frank Pallone (D-NJ-6th) and Jan Schakowsky (D-IL-9th) for their steadfast advocacy of this critical safety issue.

According to NHTSA, taking this commonsense regulatory action will save over 360 lives and prevent over 24,000 injuries annually. The rulemaking also will result in savings of over $5 billion dollars per year. We applaud the agency for advancing the rulemaking process to require this proven safety system and urge them to issue a comprehensive final rule promptly.

In 2021, traffic fatalities reached nearly 43,000, and preliminary 2022 data reveal the figures remain incomprehensibly high. Additionally, pedestrians and cyclists continue to be killed on our roads at an alarming rate. Tragically, over 7,300 pedestrians died in vehicle crashes in 2021, a 13 percent increase over 2020, according to NHTSA. In the same time period, almost 1,000 pedalcyclists died on U.S. roads. A total of 117,081 pedestrians and cyclists suffered injuries. All road users whether inside or outside the vehicle can and must be protected by AEB.

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), AEB can decrease front-to-rear crashes with injuries by 56 percent. The standards for AEB must ensure all road users are protected in all lighting conditions and at all appropriate speeds. Approximately three-quarters of all pedestrian deaths occur in dark/unlighted conditions, and research indicates that today’s pedestrian AEB systems do not reduce pedestrian crash risk in the dark without street lighting. In addition to this rulemaking, 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 technology must be advanced expeditiously.

With the clock ticking down on the Biden Administration and the number of preventable deaths piling up, there is no time to spare on bringing these rules over the finish line and these safety technologies onto production lines.

Note: Advocates is in the process of reviewing the lengthy NPRM and will be submitting comments to the docket.


Media Contact: Helen Jonsen