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IIHS, Consumer Reports: Automakers Have Met Automatic Emergency Braking Commitment

ford mustang mach e premium awd 2021 30 exterior profile braking scaled jpg Ford Mustang Mach-E Premium | Cars.com photo by Christian Lantry

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and Consumer Reports confirmed today that all 20 participating automakers have made good on their voluntary commitment to incorporate automatic emergency braking technology into their vehicles. IIHS and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s call to action was first posited in 2016, with automakers joining the voluntary pledge in the intervening years. Consumer Reports assisted in monitoring the pledges.

Related: Study: Automatic Emergency Braking Reduces Rear-End Crashes for Pickup Trucks, But Few Are Equipped

The IIHS report indicates that five automakers made the deadline only in 2023, including GM and Kia. In accepting this proposal, automakers set a goal of equipping at least 95% of their fleet with the safety tech. Now, evaluation for the next phase of the commitment begins, with manual-transmission vehicles and heavier models in the 8,500-to-10,000-pound category being factored into the 95% calculation in the coming years, according to the release. All in, IIHS expects the overarching commitment to prevent 42,000 crashes and 20,000 injuries by 2025.

IIHS standards mandate effective automatic emergency braking must slow the equipped vehicle by “at least 10 mph in one of two tests conducted at 12 and 25 mph, or by 5 mph at both speeds.” Meeting this standard was the original threshold for an advanced rating in the agency’s vehicle-to-vehicle front crash prevention test.

All of this is great news for societal safety, but an IIHS study indicates that automatic emergency braking’s tuning needs some serious focus going forward where motorcycles and large trucks are concerned. In an analysis of 160,000 passenger vehicle crashes, the institute found it reduced rear-end crashes of passenger vehicles with larger trucks by 38% and rear-end impacts with motorcycles by 41%. This is compared with a 53% reduction between two passenger vehicles.

The statistics presented are sobering: A medium truck, heavy truck or motorcycle is rear-ended by a passenger vehicle in 43% of fatal rear-end crashes, this despite such crashes making up just 3% of rear-end crashes overall.

In response, IIHS seeks to add new testing standards in the coming years. The institute notes nighttime testing for pedestrian detection was added in 2023 and is now required for the vaunted Top Safety Pick+ award, and that a new, higher-speed vehicle-to-vehicle braking test with both motorcycle and large truck targets will be incorporated starting in early 2024.

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Conner Golden joined Cars.com in 2023 as an experienced writer and editor with almost a decade of content creation and management in the automotive and tech industries. He lives in the Los Angeles area. Email Conner Golden

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