Thursday, March 17, 2016 | McLean, Virginia
Administrator, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
U.S. Department of Transportation
Thursday, March 17, 2016
As Prepared for Delivery
Good morning everyone, and welcome to a great day for consumers, a great day for the global auto industry, and a great day for safety.
Today, we are here to announce a groundbreaking commitment on the part of 20 automotive brands, representing more than 99 percent of new car sales in the United States, to provide life-saving technology to their customers.
We are joined here by NHTSA’s powerful partners in this effort, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, which worked side-by-side with NHTSA to bring about this historic commitment.
We are joined by Debbie Hersman, my former colleague and chairman at the National Transportation Safety Board and now President and CEO of the National Safety Council, where she and her team are doing tremendous work to educate consumers on the safety technologies making their way into new vehicles.
We welcome representatives of Consumers Union, a strong and long-standing voice for auto safety, which will help us monitor progress on this commitment moving forward.
And we welcome representatives of the 20 automotive brands that are making an important choice today – a choice for safety. A choice to go well beyond what is required. A choice to do what is not easy, but is within their grasp – and is in the interests of their customers.
Each of these 20 brands has committed, in writing, to make automatic emergency braking a standard feature on their new vehicles. Their commitment is to provide this feature on virtually all new cars by 2022, and on heavier trucks and SUVs by 2025. This means that soon, lifesaving AEB systems will be not just a pricey option on top-of-the-line models, but a given for any American consumer in the new-car market.
This is an important day in the history of auto safety for two reasons.
The first is the real, tangible safety benefits this commitment will bring. You will hear more in a moment about the effectiveness of AEB systems that meet the criteria these companies have agreed to in terms of avoiding crashes and preventing injuries.
The second could be, in the long run, maybe even more significant. It is the statement these companies are making about their commitment to proactive safety.
This will not be an easy commitment to achieve. NHTSA and IIHS pushed hard for the fastest achievable timetable to make this happen. In fact, we expect that this will make AEB a standard feature at least two years sooner than could be achieved through the traditional rulemaking process. That translates to crashes avoided and lives saved.
And that is why we’re here – because IIHS and NHTSA asked, “Can we do this faster?” and the global auto industry answered the call.
Too often, safety efforts in the past have been determined by what government could force manufacturers to do, and what manufacturers could avoid doing.
And in a world where we lose more than 32,000 lives a year on the road, that approach simply isn’t good enough. This isn’t a cat-and-mouse game. Lives are at stake. And today can be a very important step in finding new ways, new models of working toward more safety and fewer fatalities.
This is one new way, one new model. Instead of a fight over where to set the floor for safety, this effort encourages industry to reach higher. In fact, some companies may have the capability to achieve full AEB coverage even sooner than this commitment, and in fact we expect some to do so.
I want to thank each of these companies, and to congratulate them: Audi, BMW, Fiat-Chrysler, Ford, General Motors, Honda, Hyundai, Jaguar Land-Rover, Kia, Maserati, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz, Mitsubishi Motors, Nissan, Porsche, Subaru, Tesla, Toyota, Volkswagen and Volvo Car USA.
I firmly believe they will benefit from making a strong statement for safety.
Their customers surely will benefit.
Now, I’d like to introduce David Zuby, Executive Vice President and Chief Research Office at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and a crucial player in bringing us to this historic agreement.