The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has announced that it will add automatic emergency braking (also known as AEB) to its 5-Star rating system as a recommended technology for the 2018 model year.

This move follows the announcement in September that 10 automakers had committed to making automatic braking standard: Audi, BMW, Ford, General Motors, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz, Tesla, Toyota, Volkswagen, and Volvo.

Automatic emergency braking systems could drastically reduce rear-end crashes—either in avoiding them altogether, or at least reducing the velocity of the collision. And in doing so, some potentially dangerous accidents may be minimized to the point where the driver or occupants don’t need to go to a hospital.

“We’re putting the brakes on rear-end crashes,” said NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind.

Consumer Reports has evaluated numerous automatic emergency braking systems through our vehicle test program, both at our 327-acre test facility track and in real-world situations.

“Forward-collision warning with automatic emergency braking is the biggest safety advancement since the introduction of stability control over two decades ago,” said Jake Fisher, director of auto testing for Consumer Reports.

Before it was made standard in 2012, electronic stability control was a recommended technology, just as rearview cameras, forward-collision warning, and lane-departure warning are today.

"Automatic emergency braking saves lives," said William Wallace, policy analyst for Consumers Union, the policy and advocacy arm of Consumer Reports. "We look forward to working with NHTSA and automakers to make this technology standard on all vehicles."

When shopping for your next new car, choose a model that performs well in Consumer Reports' dynamic tests, has better-than-average predicted reliability, and strong marks for safety in crash tests performed by the government and insurance industry.

To put safety odds further in your favor, consider investing in the latest advanced safety features, such as forward-collision warning with automatic emergency braking, blind-spot monitoring, rear-cross traffic alert, and lane-departure warning.

Watch the NHTSA demonstration of how automatic braking works.