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Carmakers agree to feature automatic braking standard by 2022

Amid all the talk of self-driving cars, one automatic feature already in many vehicles has fallen out of popular discussion: automatic braking. Yet automatic braking has been shown to reduce rear-end accidents by nearly 40 percent, and the technology is already available.

Automatic braking works when a car senses an object rapidly approaching the front of the vehicle and then applies the brakes. Having automatic braking in wide circulation is perhaps the first step in having self-driving vehicles become more prominent.

ABS to be standard in 2022 model vehicles

Currently, automatic braking systems include dynamic brake support (DBS) and crash imminent braking (CIB). DBS supplements a driver's braking effort if the driver brakes but cannot stop in time. CIB is autonomous, meaning the car can apply brakes when it determines a driver is not going to avoid an obstacle.

Ford, General Motors, Honda, Kia, Nissan, Toyota and Tesla have all agreed to include automatic braking as standard on nearly all 2022 models.

This agreement saves the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration from issuing regulations regarding automatic braking. The NHTSA was expected to issue a rule regarding ABS systems in the near future.

Automatic braking has been shown to reduce accident risk

Rear-end collisions are the most common type of car accidents. They most often occur when a driver is negligent. For example, a driver who reads a text on his or her phone while going 55 mph drives the length of several football fields without ever looking at the road. Distracted driving, unsurprisingly, plays a role in many rear-end collisions.

Ideally, safety technology, including automatic braking, will reduce injuries and save lives even when drivers are negligent. However, automatic braking currently remains standard on only a few model vehicles. As an optional feature ABS can cost several hundred to several thousand dollars.

In the meanwhile, drivers must simply drive safely and be aware of their surroundings to avoid rear-end collisions.

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