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Consumers Union: Automakers Making Progress, but Lifesaving Automatic Emergency Braking Technology Needs to Be Better, Become Standard Feature Faster

Thursday, December 21, 2017

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Data released today by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) show that consumers are seeing more new cars with automatic emergency braking (AEB) technology, according to Consumers Union, the policy and mobilization division of Consumer Reports. Consumers Union highlighted the progress that has been made to equip vehicles with this crash avoidance feature, which has been proven to help prevent and mitigate front-to-rear crashes, while also urging automakers to speed up their roll-out of AEB and develop more advanced versions of the lifesaving technology.

The figures released today reflect reports by automakers of their progress toward fulfilling a voluntary commitment, made by 20 companies last year, for virtually all vehicles made by September 2022 to have AEB as a standard feature. Consumer Reports, an independent nonprofit organization, agreed to separately monitor progress toward this goal.

“This progress is great news for luxury car buyers and many others, but many automakers still need to do more, as Consumer Reports analysis indicates that only 19 percent of 2017 models included these lifesaving technologies as standard features. AEB is a critical technology that should come standard on all new vehicles, as consumers shouldn’t have to pay more for proven safety features,” said David Friedman, Director of Cars and Product Policy and Analysis for Consumers Union.

“Automakers, safety groups and the government also should work together to make highway operation and pedestrian detection standard features on all AEB systems. All necessary steps should be taken to accelerate these advances, along with the capability to mitigate crossing path crashes, without delay. With more than 100 Americans dying every day due to traffic crashes, we can’t wait around for self-driving cars to potentially save the day—consumers need more protection from practical solutions already available today,” Friedman added.

Separate from the automaker-reported data released today by NHTSA and IIHS, Consumer Reports independently evaluates the marketplace for which car models offer AEB as a standard feature. Consumer Reports has published stories assessing the availability of AEB in model year 2017 vehicles, reporting on automakers’ progress toward meeting the voluntary agreement brokered by NHTSA and IIHS, and providing consumers with extensive information about which cars come with which advanced safety systems. The organization will carry out similar analyses in 2018, and will continue to push for proven auto safety features to be standard on all vehicles.

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Contact: David Butler, dbutler@consumer.org, 202-462-6262

Consumer Reports is the world’s largest independent product-testing organization. Using its more than 50 labs, auto test center, and survey research center, the nonprofit rates thousands of products and services annually. Founded in 1936, Consumer Reports has over 7 million subscribers to its magazine, website, and other publications. Its policy and mobilization division, Consumers Union, works for health reform, food and product safety, financial reform, and other consumer issues in Washington, D.C., the states, and in the marketplace.