(Bloomberg) -- US authorities are seeking to require carmakers to install automatic emergency braking systems on new vehicles, a sweeping proposal aimed at reducing roadway deaths.
The rule would mandate that the technology can kick in for passenger cars and light trucks to prevent a crash at speeds up to 62 miles per hour (100 kilometers) if the driver uses the manual brake as well, according to a statement Wednesday from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. If the driver doesn’t brake, it would avoid crashes at up to 50 miles per hour. While many new vehicles already include such braking systems, manufacturers would have four years from the date the new rule is finalized to ensure they are able to meet the requirements, the agency said.
If the vehicle is going faster than 62 miles per hour, it would activate but likely wouldn’t be enough to avoid a crash.
Deputy Transportation Secretary Polly Trottenberg said the mandate is “urgently needed” with more than 40,000 people dying each year in motor vehicle crashes.
“We’re seeing a real epidemic of roadway fatalities on US roads,” she said in a press conference at the department’s headquarters in Washington. The rule is expected to save at least 360 lives each year, according to NHTSA.
Officials said the proposed mandate is performance-based, so manufacturers will not be required to use particular technologies to ensure compliance. The agency estimated it would cost automakers $286 million annually to comply with the new rule.
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