The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) will update its 5 star safety rating system to include automatic emergency braking (AEB).

“We are adding automatic emergency braking features to the 5-Star Rating System because crash-avoidance technologies can save lives and should be widely accessible,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “AEB can substantially enhance safety, especially with the number of distracted drivers on the road.”

According to NHTSA, an automatic emergency braking system is designed to work even without driver intervention. The systems combine driver inputs from forward-looking radar and camera sensors to determine if a rear-end crash is likely to happen. One of the combined systems is crash imminent braking, which applies the brakes in cases where a rear-end crash is imminent and the driver isn’t taking any action to avoid it. The other, dynamic brake support, supplements the driver’s braking input if the driver isn’t applying sufficient braking to avoid a rear-end crash.

To help the public better understand how AEB works, the agency has created a new webpage on, along with a video depicting how AEB is used to prevent a crash.

NHTSA is requiring vehicles beginning with the model year 2018 come standard with an automatic emergency braking system.