RACQ has welcomed the Federal Government’s introduction of a new Australian Design Rule (ADR) that mandates the fitment of autonomous emergency braking (AEB) for new passenger and light-goods vehicles.
Under the new legislation, AEB systems capable of detecting collisions with other vehicles must be installed from 1 March 2023 for all new models of vehicles and 1 March 2025 for all other new vehicles.
From 1 August 2024, AEB systems capable of detecting collisions with other vehicles and pedestrians must be installed for all new models of vehicles and 1 August 2026 for all other new vehicles.
RACQ Head of Public Policy Susan Furze said AEB was already a widely available and proven technology that had been shown to reduce crashes and save lives.
“Mandating life-saving technology can protect vehicle occupants as well as vulnerable road users including pedestrians,” Ms Furze said.
“Humans don’t always react fast enough or make the right decisions, and this technology can help to reduce situations that might otherwise result in tragedy.”
Assistant Minister to the Deputy Prime Minister Kevin Hogan said the step was part of the Federal Government’s commitment to improving road safety and reducing the number of deaths and serious injuries occurring on our roads.
“Vehicle technology has an important role to play in reducing road trauma, which is why we have introduced new standards that mean AEB systems must be installed in all new light vehicles,” Mr Hogan said.
“There will be a progressive rollout of the new standards, which will start to apply from March 2023 – giving manufacturers the time needed to effectively make the transition.
“AEB systems detect likely forward collisions with another vehicle or pedestrian, provide the driver with a warning and if the driver does not respond, apply the brakes automatically.
“To date, many systems have been unable to detect pedestrians. These new national road vehicle standards would require light vehicle AEB systems to detect likely forward collisions with both vehicles and pedestrians to help keep some of our most vulnerable road users safe as well.”
Australasia’s independent vehicle safety consumer advocate, ANCAP SAFETY, also welcomed the announcement, quoting statistics that indicated implementation of the new ADRs would save 580 lives and avoid 20,400 serious and 73,340 minor injuries – with a net benefit of close to $1.9 billion to the Australian economy.
ANCAP has encouraged the voluntary fitment of AEB technology across the Australian and New Zealand fleets since 2012, and more formally through its safety testing and star rating program since 2015.
“The announcement by the Australian Government to mandate autonomous emergency braking is a welcome step in closing the gap to ensure all new vehicles are equipped with this life-saving technology,” said ANCAP Chief Executive Officer Carla Hoorweg.
“A key role played by ANCAP is to build consumer awareness, confidence and demand for vehicle safety features and technologies through its non-regulatory approach.
“AEB has consistently been shown to improve safety outcomes, and our latest analysis of new light vehicle sales shows 89.5 per cent of all new vehicles sold - 222 models - were available with AEB.
“This is a significant achievement, and the automotive industry is to be congratulated for its efforts in achieving such a high fitting rate ahead of regulatory intervention,” Ms Hoorweg said.
“Voluntary fitment alone however cannot achieve full market coverage. The mandating of AEB will push manufacturers that have been slow to introduce this technology to catch up – ensuring 100% of new Australian vehicles will have the benefit of AEB from March 2025.”
ANCAP said AEB had been shown to reduce police-reported crashes by 55%, rear-end crashes by 40% and vehicle occupant trauma by 28%.
The organisation said it expected these safety benefits to improve further following the introduction of the ADR and evolution in the sophistication of AEB systems.
ANCAP’s analysis on the availability of AEB, including the AEB status of the 100 top-selling models, can be viewed here.
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