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Automatic Braking Systems To Become Standard On Most U.S. Vehicles

Some 20 carmakers have committed to making automatic emergency braking systems a standard feature on virtually all new cars sold in the U.S. by 2022, according to a new plan from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

Automatic brakes are designed to stop a vehicle before it collides with a car or another object. Experts say that making them standard could prevent as much as 20 percent of accidents.

NPR's Sonari Glinton reports for our Newscast unit:

"Many cars on the road now have automated brakes. And when you're new to them, it's pretty scary when the car stops on its own. But experts say automatic brakes could make the fender bender a thing of the past.


"It's part of a push to fight the growing problem of driver distraction and a step closer to driverless cars. Now carmakers have to figure out by 2022 how they'll integrate the systems."

NHTSA released a list of the car companies that have committed to the system:

"Audi, BMW, FCA US LLC, Ford, General Motors, Honda, Hyundai, Jaguar Land Rover, Kia, Maserati, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz, Mitsubishi Motors, Nissan, Porsche, Subaru, Tesla Motors Inc., Toyota, Volkswagen and Volvo."

"In 2012, one-third of all police-reported crashes involved a rear-end collision with another vehicle as the first harmful event in the crash," according to the government's information page on Automatic Emergency Braking systems. It adds that AEB systems can either avoid or reduce the severity of some of those rear-end crashes.

In a statement about the plan, NHTSA says the "unprecedented commitment" from the automakers will bring the safety technology to "more consumers more quickly than would be possible through the regulatory process."

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Bill Chappell is a writer and editor on the News Desk in the heart of NPR's newsroom in Washington, D.C.
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