U.S. mandates emergency-braking rule for cars in 2029 to reduce roadway fatalities and injuries

The U.S. government has mandated that by September 2029, all new passenger cars and trucks sold in the United States must be equipped with Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB) systems. This decision by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) aims to significantly enhance road safety by reducing the number of traffic fatalities and injuries. The rule is expected to save at least 360 lives and prevent approximately 24,000 injuries annually[1][2].

AEB systems use sensors such as cameras and radar to detect imminent collisions and automatically apply the brakes if the driver fails to respond in time. This technology is particularly effective in preventing rear-end collisions and accidents involving pedestrians. Studies have shown that AEB can reduce front-to-rear crashes by about 50% and significantly decrease the severity of crashes when they do occur[4][5]. Additionally, AEB systems with pedestrian detection capabilities are estimated to reduce pedestrian fatality risk by 84-87% and serious injury risk by 83-87%[6].

The financial benefits of AEB systems are also notable. They help reduce insurance claims and associated costs from property damage, particularly in low-speed crashes. Rear AEB systems, for example, have been found to reduce collision claims significantly, saving billions in damages from minor reversing accidents[5].

Overall, the implementation of AEB systems in all new vehicles is a critical step towards improving road safety, reducing the economic burden of traffic accidents, and ultimately saving lives.

What is the difference between automatic emergency braking and regular braking systems?

The key difference between automatic emergency braking (AEB) systems and regular braking systems lies in their autonomous operation and purpose.

Regular braking systems require direct input from the driver to apply the brakes. This includes the conventional brake pedal as well as supplementary systems like anti-lock braking (ABS), which aids the driver during hard braking situations to prevent wheel lockup and maintain steering control[2].

On the other hand, automatic emergency braking systems are designed to autonomously apply the brakes without any driver input if an imminent collision is detected[6][8][9]. AEB uses sensors like cameras, radar, or lidar to monitor the vehicle’s surroundings and identify potential obstacles or hazards. If the system determines a collision is likely and the driver does not take evasive action, it will automatically apply the brakes to mitigate or avoid the impact.

The primary purpose of AEB is to act as a last resort safety measure to prevent or reduce the severity of frontal collisions, especially in situations where the driver may be distracted or slow to react[4]. Regular braking systems rely entirely on the driver’s ability to recognize and respond to hazards.

Another key distinction is that AEB systems can bring the vehicle to a complete stop at lower speeds to avoid a collision entirely, while regular brakes can only slow the vehicle down based on the driver’s input[8][9]. At higher speeds, AEB aims to reduce the impact speed as much as possible before a collision occurs.

What Happens When Technology Fails to Protect?

Safety is at the forefront of innovation in the automotive industry, and the U.S. government is taking a monumental step by mandating Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB) systems in all new passenger cars and trucks by 2029. The purpose is clear: to reduce roadway fatalities and injuries by leveraging technology that can make critical decisions in a fraction of a second. But what happens when these systems, designed to be our guardians on the road, fall short?

The reality we must face is that technology is not infallible. While AEB systems are anticipated to save hundreds of lives and prevent tens of thousands of injuries each year, there can be instances where the technology fails to deliver on its promise. Whether it’s due to sensor errors, software glitches, or unexpected conditions on the road, the consequences of a malfunctioning AEB system can be serious, leaving drivers and pedestrians vulnerable to the very dangers the technology seeks to prevent.

Get a lawyer who handles Product Liability Cases

In the rare event that AEB does not activate when necessary, or misfires causing a false reaction, it raises pressing questions about product liability and who is responsible for the consequences. Can drivers solely rely on these systems, or are they expected to maintain ultimate control over their vehicle? Who is accountable if a supposed safety feature becomes the cause of harm?

The intersection between legal responsibility and automotive technology is complex, and that’s where expertise in product liability law plays an essential role. When technology fails to protect, it is crucial for affected individuals to seek experienced legal support. Firms that specialize in these cases, such as Cronauer Law, understand the intricacies of the automotive industry’s standards, the technology’s operation, and the legal framework that surrounds them. They are equipped to investigate incidents, determine fault, and advocate for those aggrieved by faulty safety features.

Adopting advanced safety measures like AEB is undeniably a giant leap toward a safer future on our roads. However, as we integrate more technology into our lives, we must also be prepared for the unpredictable and ensure that there are systems in place to address the ‘what ifs.’ When technology fails to live up to its lifesaving potential, knowing your rights and having access to skilled legal support is as crucial as having a seatbelt fastened every time you hit the road.


[1] https://www.jdpower.com/automotive-news/report-automatic-emergency-braking-systems-save-lives-save-money
[2] https://ackodrive.com/car-guide/autonomous-emergency-braking/
[3] https://www.jdpower.com/cars/shopping-guides/what-is-automatic-emergency-braking
[4] https://www.kbb.com/car-advice/how-does-automatic-emergency-braking-work/
[5] https://www.motortrend.com/features/automatic-emergency-braking/
[6] https://www.carriermanagement.com/news/2024/04/30/261623.htm
[7] https://www.reuters.com/business/autos-transportation/us-require-new-cars-have-emergency-braking-systems-by-2029-2024-04-29/
[8] https://www.nytimes.com/2024/04/29/business/abs-automatic-braking-nhtsa.html
[9] https://www.jdpower.com/cars/shopping-guides/what-is-automatic-emergency-braking
[10] https://www.jdpower.com/automotive-news/report-automatic-emergency-braking-systems-save-lives-save-money
[11] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31381447/
[12] https://www.truckinginfo.com/10213581/speed-limiters-automatic-emergency-braking-and-other-trucking-regulations-in-the