These Top Automakers Just Agreed to Make Cars a Whole Lot Safer

Photograph by Diane Labombarbe—Getty Images

U.S. auto safety regulators said on Thursday that 20 automakers have agreed to make automatic emergency braking standard on nearly all U.S. vehicles by 2022, a move that could prevent thousands of rear-end crashes annually.

At a press conference at a federal highway facility in McLean, Va., the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) hailed the voluntary commitment by 20 automakers representing more than 99% of U.S. vehicle sales. They include General Motors (GM), Ford Motor (F), Toyota Motor (TM), Volkswagen (VLKAY), Daimler (DDAIF), Nissan Motor (NSANY) and Honda Motor (HMC).

Reuters reported the planned agreement Wednesday.


In 2012, rear-end crashes killed 1,705 people and injured 547,000 in the United States. About 87% of the deaths and injuries might have been prevented or lessened if vehicles had a collision avoidance system—because they were linked to driver inattention, researchers found.

The NHTSA estimated that the agreement will make automatic emergency braking standard on new cars two years faster than could be achieved if it began the process to legally require the technology.

The agreement will make the technology standard on virtually all light-duty cars and trucks with a gross vehicle weight of 8,500 lbs. or less, beginning no later than Sept. 1, 2022.

The technology will be standard on virtually all trucks with a gross vehicle weight between 8,501 lbs. and 10,000 lbs., beginning no later than Sept. 1, 2025.

But the agreement is not legally enforceable, and some critics want the agency to make it legally required.

Subscribe to Well Adjusted, our newsletter full of simple strategies to work smarter and live better, from the Fortune Well team. Sign up today.