Friday, September 11, 2015 | Ruckersville, Va.
Administrator, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
U.S. Department of Transportation
Friday, Sept. 11, 2015
As Prepared for Delivery
It is a great pleasure to be here today to help celebrate an important day for IIHS and for saving lives on our roads. Congratulations to everyone at IIHS on this remarkable expansion.
The NHTSA-IIHS relationship goes back a long way – back to William Haddon, a founding father of both NHTSA and IIHS.
Dr. Haddon knew that drivers make mistakes. He knew those mistakes could be deadly. He said, “I think that’s too high a penalty for being human.” And so he sought to save those lives.
That has been the work of NHTSA and of IIHS ever since. Today is another big step in that combined effort to save lives.
As Secretary Foxx has said, we are moving to a new era in auto safety. Vehicles can help us to avoid crashes altogether and are no longer designed to just protect us when a crash happens.
But we can’t begin that new era if these advanced technologies are limited to high-end models or available only as expensive options.
Over the last few weeks, NHTSA and IIHS have worked together to ensure that one advanced safety technology, automatic emergency braking, becomes widely available.
AEB can save lives and prevent injuries. That’s why in January Secretary Foxx announced NHTSA’s interest to add AEB systems to the list of recommended safety technologies in our New Car Assessment Program. And today, NHTSA and IIHS can announce that 10 manufacturers have committed to the principle that this life-saving technology should be available in all their models.
These companies – Audi, BMW, Ford, General Motors, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz, Tesla, Toyota, Volkswagen, Volvo – represent 57% of all car and light-truck sales in the United States.
This is a historic commitment on the part of these manufacturers. And we hope this is only the beginning, as NHTSA and IIHS welcome the commitment of additional manufacturers. We’re also working with truck manufacturers and fleets to secure their commitments. My hope is that this new era in safety technology can be accompanied by a new era in how everyone – manufacturers, consumers, safety advocates, IIHS and NHTSA – thinks about safety. We need a more proactive approach to safety and technology that prevents crashes from ever occurring is the epitome of proactive.
There will always be a need for regulation to keep the public safe. But industry does not need to wait for regulation to make life-saving technology available to everyone. These 10 companies are not waiting.
I want to thank them for their commitment. Nat Beuse, David Zuby, and I want to thank Adrian Lund and IIHS for continuing the strong cooperative effort to save lives.