Automakers that sell cars in the U.S. have voluntarily agreed to include Automatic Emergency Braking technology as standard equipment by the year 2022. These systems, which utilize front-facing cameras or radar, hit the brakes to help avoid a crash or reduce the amount of potential damage. The Insurance Institute for High Safety claims auto-braking could reduce rear-end crashes by as much as 40 percent. Initially this will only affect cars and trucks with a gross vehicle weight rating of 8500 pounds or less. By 2025, all vehicles on the road (including heavy-duty trucks) will come standard with auto-braking.
To most of us, this means cars and trucks of all trim packages will greatly increase in price. Currently the same types of systems are offered as an option for some vehicles on their highest trim levels, so it is only available on a fully loaded car. Most consumers opt for the lower priced trim packages simply because that’s all they can afford.
Increasing the safety of our vehicles is generally a good thing, but every time some new standard feature comes around, a lot of fuss is made about it. It’s hard to imagine driving a car without seat belts or airbags, but back when they became standard in our vehicles, they were met with the same kind of disapproval. In time, automatic emergency braking systems will be accepted just like all other safety equipment on our cars, and the process will begin again when the next feature comes around.