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NHTSA Declines to Mandate Automatic Emergency Braking Systems

April 11, 2017

Government Agency Finds Voluntary Compliance Enough

Despite requests from three consumer advocacy groups, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recently declined to enact safety regulations that would have required automakers to install automatic emergency braking systems (AEBs) in their vehicles. Since the NHTSA elected not to acquiesce to the demands of advocacy groups, there will be no minimal federal standards that automakers must meet in regards to AEB systems. According to the NHTSA, its decision was based in part on 20 automakers' agreement to voluntary install and use AEB technology.

Consumer Safety Groups Not Happy with NHTSA Decision

The NHTSA's decision not to enact federal regulations requiring automakers install AEBs was not well received by the consumer groups that filed the initial petition seeking regulation. Without a federal standard in place, automakers can install any variation of AEB system and still claim that they are voluntarily equipping their automobile fleet with the technology. Automatic emergency braking systems can perform any or all of the following tasks:

  • Provide a visual and/or audible warning to the driver when a crash is imminent. Such warning is designed to alert the driver to apply the vehicle's brakes immediately in order to avoid colliding with another object;
  • "Crash imminent braking" technology automatically applies a vehicle's brakes to avoid a collision if the driver does not respond in a timely manner to the visual and/or audible collision warning; and/or
  • "Dynamic brake support" applies additional braking power when the normal and regular application of the vehicle's brakes is insufficient to avoid a collision.

More concerning to the advocacy groups is the fact that the NHTSA's decisions means that there will not be any penalty for automakers who refuse to invest additional money into their vehicles' designs and decline to incorporate AEB technology. Moreover, there will be no penalty or sanction levied against automakers who are presently volunteering to install AEB systems, and who later decide to cease using the technology.

Automatic Emergency Braking Systems Do Not Alleviate Drivers of Responsibility

In an age where automakers are achieving technological leaps toward autonomous vehicles, it is important to remember that human drivers are still responsible for safely and carefully operating their cars, even when those vehicles are equipped with AEB systems or other "driver-assist" technology. For example, suppose that a driver of a vehicle equipped with "dynamic brake support" AEB technology is involved in a crash when his or her car rear-ends the vehicle in front. The driver in this circumstance cannot likely avoid responsibility for causing the crash and the resulting injuries by claiming the AEB technology malfunctioned or did not function as described.

Contact Montlick & Associates, Attorneys at Law Today for Help

It is a mistake to assume that because the vehicle that caused your wreck was equipped with AEB technology or some other driver assist technology that you are not able to recover compensation for your injuries. Montlick & Associates, Attorneys at Law, can review the facts of your car wreck and help you determine whether you may be entitled to compensation and, if so, from whom. In cases where AEB technology failed to function as designed, you may be able to recover compensation from the at-fault driver as well as the AEB technology's manufacturer.

Our firm has over 39 years of experience in representing car crash injury victims across Georgia and in the Southeast. Contact us to schedule your Free Consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333). You can also visit us online at and use our Free Case Evaluation Form or 24-hour Live Online Chat.


Montlick & Associates, Attorneys at Law
17 Executive Park Dr NE
Atlanta, GA 30329
Telephone: 1 (404) 529-6333
Toll Free: 1 (800) LAW-NEED

Category: Auto Accidents

Please Note:
All information provided by our blogs is general in nature and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Consult a Montlick attorney for details about your unique situation.

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