Federal Safety Agencies claim that is it is faster to get Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB) installed voluntarily than by being forced by legislation.

Could this fatal rear-end impact of two trucks on Highway 401 near Chatham earlier this month have been avoided if trucks were equipped with Automatic Emergency Braking?

According to a 2015 voluntary agreement among twenty manufacturers, ten of those manufacturers installed AEB technology in more than half of the vehicles that were manufactured between September, 2017 and end of August, 2018. Tesla has reported that all of its vehicles are equipped with the technology. Yet some manufacturers have fallen far behind. Ford, Mitsubishi and Porsche equip less than 10% of their vehicles with AEB and General Motors is only at 24%.

There is still no word about equipping large trucks with AEB. Such an installation would be expected to see the largest benefit. Given the difficulties that large trucks have in braking compared to light vehicles, and given the number of instances on major expressways where heavy trucks end up crashing into stopped vehicles, it would be expected that AEB could be very effective in reducing major, fatality producing collisions.

Although the technology is in its early stages it could be that AEB might make a very large improvement in road safety. What remains are questions about its ability to reliably detect instances where automatic braking is required. We may not see those instances of technology failure until enough vehicles are so equipped and instances of its use are better known. There are well known previous instances where tweaking of a safety feature was required after it had enveloped a large percentage of the vehicle population. The most notable is the required depowering of airbags in the late 1990s where many fatalities occurred before changes could be made. Hopefully such a problem will not recur with AEB.