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Auto brake systems due in all U.S. vehicles by 2022

On March 17, a group of major automakers announced that automatic emergency braking systems will be included in most new cars and light trucks sold in New Jersey and across the U.S. by September 2022. The companies that agreed to the pledge include General Motors, Ford, Toyota Motor Corp., Honda Motor Co., Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV and Volkswagen AG.

Last September, the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced it had reached a deal in principle with 10 car companies to include auto braking systems in their vehicles. The automakers involved in the agreement sell more than 99 percent of all light vehicles in America. A representative for the NHTSA said the agreement is voluntary and legally binding rules could be as many as eight years away.

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, automatic emergency braking systems could prevent up to 20 percent of all car crashes. The technology senses potential collisions and automatically applies a vehicle's brakes in cases when drivers fail to respond or do not apply the brakes forcefully enough. Over 1,700 Americans died in rear-end collisions in 2012, and another 547,000 were injured. Safety experts say that approximately 87 percent of those injuries and deaths could have prevented or reduced in severity if automatic braking systems had been installed in the involved vehicles.

Most rear-end collisions are caused by driver error such as texting and driving or another form of negligence. People who are injured in such a collision may want the help of a lawyer in pursuing compensation for medical expenses and other losses.

Source: Insurance Journal, "Automatic Braking, Due by 2022 in U.S. Cars, Could Prevent 20% of All Crashes," David Shepardson, March 17, 2016

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