Law & Order

NHTSA Proposes Automatic Emergency Braking Standard for New Vehicles

By the SEMA D.C. Office

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has issued a proposed rule to require automatic emergency braking (AEB) and pedestrian AEB systems on new passenger cars and light trucks weighing up to 10,000 lbs. Once finalized, the rule would be phased in over three years, with an additional year for small-volume manufacturers, final-stage manufacturers and alterers to comply.  

Recognizing its potential to help save lives and reduce injuries, most automakers voluntarily agreed in 2016 to begin installing AEB systems. About 95% of all model-year '23 light-duty cars and trucks have such equipment. The systems use sensors and software to identify dangers and apply brakes if the driver hasn't responded quickly enough or with sufficient braking force.

NHTSA added AEB systems to its five-star New Car Assessment Program (NCAP) starting in model-year '18. The agency is now considering including pedestrian protection in the consumer information program. Under the 2021 Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, Congress directed NHTSA to pursue a safety standard for AEB and pedestrian detection. NHTSA's proposed rule would require a vehicle traveling as fast as 62 miles an hour to stop to avoid colliding with a vehicle or pedestrian. Testing conditions would include daylight and darkness with both lower beam and upper beam headlamps activated.

SEMA is reviewing the rule to understand its potential impact on the industry. Comments will be due 60 days after publication in the Federal Register. For more information, contact Eric Snyder at