From airbags to collapsing steering wheel columns the fed mandates safety regulations on a year-by-year basis. Each year new regulations are put in place that automakers must comply with. But a new car safety regulation taking effect has seen numerous automakers and/or certain models built that don’t have the safety feature. So, what’s going on?
10 manufacturers already have the feature as part of their car safety offerings
Whenever the feds mandate a new safety feature it has a grace period for manufacturers to comply. This is true in the case of its automatic emergency braking requirement. There are 10 manufacturers that already have the feature as part of their electronic safety equipment offerings. Manufacturers have until September 1, 2022, to make this standard equipment across their model lines.
Automatic emergency braking monitors the front of the car. If a rear-end collision is determined to be unavoidable by the software it automatically applies the brakes. Though not 100% accurate it is estimated that rear-end collisions will be reduced by half in the coming years.
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the 10 manufacturers are Audi, BMW, Mercedes, and Volvo on the luxury end of the market. On the main consumer end, Hyundai, Mazda, Subaru, Toyota, and Volkswagen all have the technology in their vehicles across the board. Tesla is part of this group but stands apart. It already has automatic emergency braking as part of its semi-autonomous Autopilot software. So it has advanced its automatic safety features beyond what even the other nine companies provide.
All other manufacturers offer this car safety technology on less than half of their models
So all other vehicle manufacturers only offer safety technology in general on less than half of their models. However, Ford has almost joined the ranks of those that do completely with over 90% of its models having the technology. Those with less than half of their models available with the safety technology include General Motors, Fiat Chrysler, Jaguar Land Rover, Maserati, and Mitsubishi.
There are similar new safety features waiting in the wings that have stalled out in the current presidential administration. These are expected to be enacted in the new Joe Biden administration. The electronic safety features include camera mirrors and automatic high-beam headlights.
Safety features seem to be popular with consumers
Of course, there is a downside to these mandates and that is they raise the price of vehicles. But the safety features seem to be popular with consumers. As options, they are ordered more often than not. So it will drive the prices of vehicles up but is not expected to deter consumers from purchasing new cars and trucks.
And as manufacturers are aware of the myriad of potential new mandates they can begin incorporating the functions into their software. Once the features become mandated they can turn on the dormant feature through over-the-air commands. So, even new cars without some of these future requirements may be able to be updated once the features become the law.