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US to seek automatic braking requirement for heavy trucks


US auto safety regulators say they will move to set requirements or standards for automatic emergency braking systems on new heavy trucks

DETROIT — In a reversal from Trump administration policies, US auto safety regulators say they will move to require or set standards for automatic emergency braking systems on new heavy trucks.

The Department of Transportation, which includes the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, announced the changes on Friday when it released its spring regulatory agenda.

It would also require rigorous testing standards for autonomous vehicles, and establish a national database to document automatic-vehicle accidents.

The NHTSA proposed a regulation on automatic emergency braking in 2015 before Trump took office, but it ended up in the regulatory process. The agency says it is studying the use of the electronic system.

In 2016 the agency struck a deal with 20 automakers, representing 99% of US new passenger vehicle sales, to voluntarily make automatic emergency braking standard on all models by September 1, 2022.

The announcement of the requirements comes two days after four people were killed when a milk tanker collided with seven speeding passenger vehicles on the Phoenix Freeway. At least nine people were injured.

The US National Transportation Safety Board, which investigates accidents and makes recommendations to prevent them, said on Thursday it would send a nine-person team to investigate the Phoenix accident. The agency said it would look into whether automatic emergency braking in the truck reduced the accident.

The NTSB has recommended automatic emergency braking or collision alerts to be standard on vehicles since at least 2015.

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