Watch CBS News

Automakers pushing back on new federal safety requirements

Automakers urge lawmakers to rethink automatic emergency braking
Automakers urge lawmakers to rethink automatic emergency braking 02:55

(CBS DETROIT) - American automakers are pushing back against a federal safety ruling that involves automatic emergency braking technology in new cars. The technology automatically stops your vehicle if it detects you will hit another car or pedestrian.

Most cars sold today have a similar system in place for low-speed travel, zero to 35 mph.

In April, the federal government made a new requirement that all new cars sold starting in 2029 must have automatic emergency braking at speeds higher than 60 miles per hour. Speeds automakers said is practically impossible and could increase crashes.

The National Highway Safety Administration issued new requirements in an effort to lower car-related deaths.

"Going back three or four years, they hit as high as 40,000," said Patrick Olsen, editor and chief at Carfax.

Olsen said despite the good intentions, automakers want the government to reconsider the requirements. The Automotive Alliance for Innovation, which represents nearly all of the manufacturers that sell cars in the U.S., sent a letter to government officials outlining their concerns.

They said the requirement could lead to more collisions and disorienting drivers, and the technology required is very advanced.

"When you get to be going 60 miles an hour, your car is traveling 88 feet a second. So, if you can imagine your computer system having to take in an additional 88 feet in front of you every second, it's going to take a lot of computing power. And it's going to take a really sophisticated system to be able to tell parked cars, differentiated from emergency vehicles, differentiated from pedestrians, and only stop when you should," Olsen said.

He said it will also mean added costs to consumers, as we've seen with other new vehicle technology.

"Blind spot warning, automatic braking, rear cross-traffic alerts. Those systems, although they work well, add up to more and more costs for cars."

He said new cars already cost around $48,000 on average, which is way up from even a few years ago. As for the next steps, he said the automakers have a lot of power, so the government could negotiate with them by adjusting the timeline or requirements, though they could hold fast to the requirements. He said his biggest fear with safety equipment is that drivers stop being involved and engaged.

He said his biggest fear with safety equipment is that drivers stop being involved and engaged.

"I think it's also important that as we see more safety equipment in cars, that we don't let the devices meant to idiotproof our cars turn us into idiots," said Olsen. 

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.