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Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Most car companies are making good on a voluntary commitment to equip all of their vehicles with automatic emergency braking technology, safety officials say.

Why it matters: AEB is one of the most effective safety features since the seat belt — reducing crashes by up to 43% in one study — which is why the industry decided consumers would benefit faster if compliance were voluntary rather than mandated.

  • 20 carmakers representing 99% of the market agreed in 2016 to make the technology standard on all cars by 2022 and to provide the government with annual progress reports.
  • IIHS estimates the commitment will prevent 28,000 crashes and 12,000 injuries by 2025.

How it works: Often paired with a forward collision warning — a flashing alert or chime — AEB senses a potential collision with a vehicle ahead and applies the brakes if the driver doesn't react in time.

The big picture: About half of all 2018 models were produced with emergency braking systems, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the IIHS.

  • Tesla led the industry, with 100% of its vehicles equipped with AEB.
  • Luxury carmakers Mercedes-Benz (96%), Volvo (93%) and Audi (87%) were also near the top.
  • By sheer numbers, Toyota and Lexus produced the most vehicles with AEB — 2.2 million (90%).
  • Ford, Mitsubishi and Porsche equipped fewer than 10% of their 2018 models with AEB.
"When it comes to being on track for the 2022 targets, most manufacturers are ahead of the curve, but far too many still need to kick their efforts into gear."
David Friedman, VP of advocacy, Consumer Reports

Ford is quickly adding the technology, a spokesman noted. Many of its 2018 cars that lacked AEB have been discontinued, while 2019 models like the F-150, Edge, Ranger and Fusion now include it as part of Ford's Co-Pilot 360 assisted-driving system.

  • What's next: AEB will be standard on 91% of Ford vehicles in North America by 2020, the company says.

Go deeper

Updated 2 hours ago - Health

California surpasses 50,000 COVID-19 deaths

A man prepares a funeral arrangement in in Los Angeles, California, Feb. 12. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

California's death toll from COVID-19 surpassed 50,000 on Wednesday, per Johns Hopkins data.

The big picture: It's the first state to record more than 50,000 deaths from the coronavirus.

4 hours ago - Technology

Facebook bans Myanmar military

A protester holds a placard with a three-finger salute in front of a military tank parked aside the street in front of the Central Bank building during a demonstration in Yangon, Myanmar. Photo by Aung Kyaw Htet/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Facebook said on Wednesday it would ban the rest of the Myanmar military from its platform.

The big picture: It comes some three weeks after the military overthrew the civilian government in a coup and detained leader Aung San Suu Kyi, causing massive protests to erupt throughout the country. Military leaders have been using internet blackouts to try to maintain power in light of the coup.

It's harder to fill the Cabinet

Data: Chamberlain, 2020, "United States of America Cabinet Appointments Dataset" Chart: Will Chase/Axios

It's harder now for presidents to win Senate confirmation for their Cabinet picks, an Axios data analysis of votes for and against nominees found.

Why it matters: It's not just Neera Tanden. The trend is a product of growing polarization, rougher political discourse and slimming Senate majorities, experts say. It means some of the nation's most vital federal agencies go without a leader and the legislative authority that comes with one.

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