In 2015, 35,092 people died in motor vehicle crashes. Research shows that 94 percent of crashes are tied to a human choice or error. NHTSA is working to promote vehicle technologies that hold the potential to reduce the number of crashes and to save thousands of lives every year. Learn more about NHTSA's work to bring these technologies to America's cars and trucks.
Automatic Emergency Braking Systems
What are automatic emergency braking systems?
Automatic emergency braking (AEB) systems detect an impending forward crash with another vehicle in time to avoid or mitigate the crash. These systems first alert the driver to take corrective action to avoid the crash. If the driver’s response is not sufficient to avoid the crash, the AEB system may automatically apply the brakes to assist in preventing or reducing the severity of a crash. NHTSA believes these technologies represent the next wave of potentially significant advances in vehicle safety. AEB systems, such as dynamic brake support (DBS) and crash imminent braking (CIB), have the potential not only to save lives but also to reduce moderate and less severe rear-end crashes that are common on our roadways.
Dynamic Brake Support versus Crash Imminent Braking
If the driver brakes but not hard enough to avoid the crash, dynamic brake support (DBS) automatically supplements the driver’s braking in an effort to avoid the crash. If the driver does not take any action to avoid the crash, crash imminent braking (CIB) automatically applies the vehicle’s brakes to slow or stop the car, avoiding the crash or reducing its severity.
In 2012, one-third of all police-reported crashes involved a rear-end collision with another vehicle as the first harmful event in the crash, and NHTSA believes that advanced crash avoidance and mitigation technologies like AEB systems could help in this area. NHTSAs extensive research on this technology and on relevant performance measures showed that a number of AEB systems currently available in the marketplace are capable of avoiding or reducing the severity of rear-end crashes in certain situations.
How much will these technologies add to vehicle cost?
Crash imminent braking and dynamic brake support have been available on some vehicle models in the United States since 2006. CIB and DBS systems are typically included in safety technology packages as optional features. Manufacturers are using a number of different sensor combinations in production-level AEB systems. The agency conducted a cost analysis of several production-level systems and found that the system cost varies significantly depending on the type and number of sensors used.
Pedestrian Automatic Emergency Braking
What is pedestrian automatic emergency braking?
A pedestrian automatic emergency braking (PAEB) system—also known as frontal pedestrian impact mitigation braking—is an emerging safety technology that provides automatic braking for vehicles when pedestrians are in front of the vehicle and the driver has not acted to avoid a crash.
How does it work?
A PAEB system is a crash avoidance system that uses information from forward-looking sensors to automatically apply or supplement the brakes when the system determines a pedestrian is in danger of being hit by a vehicle. PAEB systems typically use cameras, but some also use a combination of cameras and radar sensors.
What types of crashes does it prevent?
Many pedestrian crashes occur when a pedestrian is crossing the street in front of the vehicle. Four common pedestrian crash scenarios include when the vehicle is:
- Heading straight and a pedestrian is crossing the road;
- Turning right and a pedestrian is crossing the road;
- Turning left and a pedestrian is crossing the road; and
- Heading straight and a pedestrian is walking along or against traffic.
Does NHTSA recommend PAEB?
NHTSA has not set performance specifications for this feature, but NHTSA recognizes PAEB as a promising technology that may be added to the 5-Star Safety Ratings list of recommended technologies in the future. PAEB systems are an option on many new cars, SUVs and trucks and can help you avoid a crash. To find out if PAEB is available in the vehicle you’re interested in buying, check out the manufacturer’s website.
What is a rearview video system?
A rearview video system (RVS), also known as a backup camera, is a safety technology that helps prevent backover crashes and protect our most vulnerable people—children and senior citizens. By providing an image of the area behind the vehicle, backup cameras help drivers see behind the vehicle.
How does it work?
When a driver shifts a vehicle into reverse, the RVS shows—either in the dashboard or in a small display in the rearview mirror—an image of the area behind the vehicle. The field of view includes a 10-foot by 20-foot zone directly behind the vehicle. It’s important to remember that rearview video systems are not a replacement for mirrors or turning around to look; rather, they’re an added safety tool for revealing hidden dangers.
Does NHTSA recommend rearview video systems?
Yes, in fact, by May 2018, NHTSA will require this life-saving technology on all new vehicles. Until then, we recommend you look for RVSs that meet NHTSA’s performance specifications when shopping for a vehicle. Today, RVSs are optional equipment on many new cars, SUVs and trucks. To find out if RVS is available in the vehicle you’re interested in buying, visit NHTSA’s 5-Star Safety Ratings and search for 2011 vehicles and newer.
What is a forward collision warning system?
A forward collision warning (FCW) system is an advanced safety technology that monitors a vehicle’s speed, the speed of the vehicle in front of it, and the distance between the vehicles. If vehicles get too close due to the speed of the rear vehicle, the FCW system will warn that driver of an impending crash. It’s important to note that FCW systems do not take full control of the vehicle or keep the driver from operating it.
How does it Work?
FCW systems use sensors to detect slower-moving or stationary vehicles. When the distance between vehicles becomes so short that a crash is imminent, a signal alerts the driver so that the driver can apply the brakes or take evasive action, such as steering, to prevent a potential crash. Vehicles with this technology provide drivers with an audible alert, a visual display, or other warning signals, and in this way, help prevent frontal crashes into the rear of slower moving or stopped vehicles.
Does NHTSA recommend forward collision warning systems?
Yes. FCW systems meet NHTSA’s performance specifications, and we recommend you look for this technology when shopping for a vehicle. FCW systems are an option on many new cars, SUVs and trucks. To find out if FCW is available in the vehicle you’re interested in buying, visit NHTSA’s 5-Star Safety Ratings and search for 2011 vehicles and newer.