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NHTSA Finalizes Key Safety Rule to Reduce Crashes and Save Lives

Monday, April 29, 2024

Starting in 2029, vehicle manufacturers must make automatic emergency braking, which reduces vehicle and pedestrian crashes, standard in cars and light trucks

Making this safety feature standard, rather than a luxury, is part of the Department’s National Roadway Safety Strategy to address the crisis of deaths on our roads 

WASHINGTON – Today, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) finalized a new Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard that will make automatic emergency braking (AEB), including pedestrian AEB, standard on all passenger cars and light trucks by September 2029. This safety standard is expected to significantly reduce rear-end and pedestrian crashes.

NHTSA projects that this new standard, FMVSS No. 127, will save at least 360 lives a year and prevent at least 24,000 injuries annually. AEB systems use sensors to detect when a vehicle is close to crashing into a vehicle or pedestrian in front and automatically applies the brakes if the driver has not. Pedestrian AEB technology will detect a pedestrian in both daylight and in darker conditions at night. This will significantly reduce injury or property damage and associated costs from these crashes.

“The new vehicle safety standards we finalized today will save hundreds of lives and prevent tens of thousands of injuries every year,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. “The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is not only making historic investments in transportation, it’s also ushering in a new era of safer travel by ensuring new cars and light trucks are equipped with automatic emergency braking, making our roads safer for drivers and pedestrians alike.”   

“Automatic emergency braking is proven to save lives and reduce serious injuries from frontal crashes, and this technology is now mature enough to require it in all new cars and light trucks. In fact, this technology is now so advanced that we’re requiring these systems to be even more effective at higher speeds and to detect pedestrians,” said NHTSA Deputy Administrator Sophie Shulman. “Most new vehicles already come with AEB, and we expect that many cars and light trucks will be able to meet this standard ahead of the deadline, meaning even more lives will be saved thanks to this technology.” 

The new standard requires all cars be able to stop and avoid contact with a vehicle in front of them up to 62 miles per hour and that the systems must detect pedestrians in both daylight and darkness. In addition, the standard requires that the system apply the brakes automatically up to 90 mph when a collision with a lead vehicle is imminent, and up to 45 mph when a pedestrian is detected. 

The standard fulfills a provision in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to establish minimum performance standards requiring that all passenger vehicles be equipped with AEB. This standard also advances the Department’s National Roadway Safety Strategy, which was launched in January 2022 to address the national crisis in traffic fatalities and serious injuries. The National Roadway Safety Strategy adopts the safe system approach and builds multiple layers of protection with safer roads, safer people, safer vehicles, safer speeds and better post-crash care. As part of the safe system approach, this new vehicle safety standard highlights safer vehicles and USDOT’s effort to expand vehicle systems and features to help prevent crashes. 

This final rule applies to nearly all U.S. light vehicles (gross vehicle weight rating of 10,000 pounds or less). A Final Regulatory Impact Analysis that presents the benefits and costs associated with the standard is included in the Final Rule. More information on the rulemaking process is available at

Reporters who need video b-roll of NHTSA’s AEB/PAEB testing, can access it here.

In June 2023, NHTSA and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration announced a separate notice of proposed rulemaking that would require heavy vehicles, including tractor trailers, to have AEB, which the agencies are in the process of finalizing.


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