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Calls for AEB safety tech to become mandatory in Australia

From 2018 it will be impossible for a car to achieve a five star ANCAP safety rating without AEB.

Autonomous emergency braking is the new focus for cutting the death toll on Australian roads.

Safety advocates are pushing for the technology — which can anticipate an impending collision and slam on the brakes if the driver isn't paying attention — to be mandatory for all new cars.

The Australian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP) and the Australian Medical Association (AMA) have launched a joint campaign on AEB, claiming the technology could be as important as seatbelts in cutting the road toll.

AMA president Professor Brian Owler wants MPs, the car industry and ordinary motorists to join the "Avoid the crash, Avoid the trauma" push presented in Canberra this week.

Prevention is far better than the cure

"Too often," Owler says, "I see the horrific injuries and loss of life caused by road crashes when drivers get it wrong. The key is making cars safer.

"Prevention is far better than the cure — if we avoid the crash, we avoid the trauma."

The organisations haven't costed the move or proposed a timetable for its introduction. It is likely to take years to make the technology compulsory.

Volvo's City Safety AEB system Volvo's City Safety AEB system

When the government mandated the fitment of stability control in 2009, it took until 2011 for the legislation to take effect on passenger cars, and a further two years for commercial vehicles such as utes and vans.

ANCAP aims to force the industry's hand by making it impossible from 2018 for a car to get a five-star crash rating without AEB, says CEO Nicholas Clarke.

He says the federal support for local manufacturing should be redirected to safety to ensure quicker adoption of AEB, given that road trauma costs the community an estimated $27 billion annually.

"AEB is a technology that will reduce the number of deaths and injuries from road crashes," Clarke says.

Technology like AEB will go a long way towards reducing the number of fatalities

"While the number of people killed on Australia's roads is declining, road crashes are still unnecessarily killing 1200 people every year.

"Technology like AEB will go a long way towards reducing the number of fatalities. Vehicle technologies such as AEB can help reduce road trauma at a much faster rate than we are seeing now."

ANCAP claims AEB has been shown to reduce rear-enders by nearly 40 per cent.

Clarke says car companies are fitting AEB as standard equipment in Europe, Japan and the US.

It is still a costly option or not available on most vehicles in Australia, despite industry estimates the technology would add $100 to $200 per vehicle

He says the key to getting car companies to fit the technology is to create awareness of AEB among fleet and private buyers alike. No country has yet mandated AEB for passenger cars.