AAA says there is reason for concern after testing automatic emergency brakes

ATLANTA — New crash test data raises concerns about the effectiveness of automatic emergency brakes.

The safety systems only prevented 1 of 40 crashes with oncoming vehicles in AAA testing.

AAA crash testing on four vehicles with reverse automatic emergency braking shows the safety systems rarely prevented a crash.

The systems are designed to detect rear cross-traffic and automatically apply brakes to avoid colliding with other cars, pedestrians, cyclists, or stationary objects.

But in testing with oncoming vehicles, while backing out of a parking spot, the safety systems only prevented a crash in 2.5% of the tests.


The systems did better with a stationary child. They successfully prevented crashes in 10 of 20 of those test runs, 50%.

“We can’t stress enough that you still have to be an engaged, driver because the technology is not fully there yet,” said Montrae Waiters, from AAA.

In 2023, federal regulators at NHTSA announced a notice of proposed rulemaking to require Automatic Emergency braking in all passenger vehicles.

Right now, automakers decide the standards or technologies they use to provide the braking systems.

If there is a federal regulation, NHTSA would set safety standards and rules for how the automatic braking would have to work.