NHTSA proposes to make Pedestrian Automatic Emergency Braking required in cars and trucks

Proposed rule is a crucial step in making vehicles safer for pedestrians

Person behind the wheel of a vehicle. Photo displays dashboard

Today, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced a proposed rulemaking to adopt automatic emergency braking and pedestrian automatic emergency braking (PAEB) systems into the Federal Motor Vehicles Safety Standards. 

“We commend USDOT for its proposal to require automatic pedestrian detection and braking in new vehicles, and not just relying on incentives like safety ratings or voluntary standards,” said Mike McGinn, executive director of America Walks. “This is the type of critical step that advocates want to see in response to the dramatic increase in pedestrian deaths.”

Last year, thousands of Americans voiced their support for increased Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS) during NHTSA’s Request for Comments on its safety rating system – the New Car Assessment Program. America Walks appreciates USDOT responding with this proposed rulemaking.

Initial standards will require that PAEB systems be able to completely avoid contact with pedestrians when a vehicle is traveling 25 mph or less. In four years, the performance testing requirements will require that PAEB systems be able to completely avoid contact with pedestrians when a vehicle is traveling up to 40 mph.

America Walks has long called for mature safety technologies like PAEB to be incorporated directly into the required FMVSS that apply to all new vehicles. Similar vehicle safety programs across the globe already include PAEB, and the United States has fallen behind. 

America Walks applaud NHTSA’s willingness to make vehicles safer for pedestrians in its proposed rulemaking and call on the agency to finalize the rule without delay. We also encourage NHTSA to incorporate additional requirements into the FMVSS that tackle the known dangers of vehicle size, limited visibility, and speed.

“Last year advocates called on USDOT to include mature technologies like pedestrian detection and automatic emergency braking in required motor vehicle safety standards. So it is gratifying to see this new rulemaking process start and we will be working to mobilize support for the proposed rule.” said Mike McGinn, “We still have a long way to go to catch up to European standards (like intelligent speed assistance for example), but this rule, if enacted, will help save lives.”

Learn more about what America Walks is doing to make vehicles safer by visiting our campaign page.