An Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) study, illustrating the benefits of automatic braking systems, works and is likely to speed the adoption of the technology. The research team found a there was a 39 percent drop in rear-end crashes on vehicles equipped with automatic braking and forward collision warning systems. In vehicles with forward collision warning systems alone, rear-end fell by 23 percent.
Today’s findings, reported in Automotive News, are likely to give added impetus to moves by safety groups, regulators and some automakers to get this technology into every car on the road. The findings also noted that in vehicles with automatic braking systems only that rear-end accidents dipped about 40 percent.
Vehicles equipped with a combination of crash-prevention technologies saw a 42 percent cut in rear-end crash-related injuries by 42 percent. Conversely, injuries hardly dipped at all in vehicles fitted with only crash-warning systems. Jessica Cicchino, IIHS vice president for research, wrote that it is “surprising that forward collision warning didn’t show more of an injury benefit,” given that the insurance data showed massive reductions in injury claims.
If all cars used systems that could warn drivers of impending collisions while also applying the brakes automatically, then 700,000 crashes might have been prevented in 2013, or about 13 percent of all police-reported crashes that year.
While the technologies are rapidly gaining support, there is still, at this moment, a long way to go. In 2015, only one percent of vehicles offered for sale included automatic braking as standard equipment, and 26 percent included it as an option, IIHS said. Last year, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and 10 automakers agreed to eventually make automatic braking systems standard on all new cars. NHTSA, already a strong supporter of the technology, and IIHS brokered the pact.
Since the announcement of the pact last month, NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind said other manufacturers have signed on. And, the new findings can only help to speed up the technology’s rollout. IIHS is an influential voice in the auto industry. Indeed, many automotive engineers and others often cite IIHS studies to justify costs associated with adding new technologies the new vehicles. And, the availability of automatic braking is already an essential criterion in the IIHS’ vehicle safety ratings. Those ratings are among the more closely watched in the industry.
David Zuby, IIHS chief research officer, said in a statement that as the technology becomes “more widespread, we can expect to see noticeably fewer rear-end crashes.” Further, he expected that the same will be true for “the whiplash injuries that often result from these crashes.” In early 2015, NHTSA began to recommend some auto-braking technology.
The IIHS study, outlined today by the trade paper, looked at the police reports of rear-end crashes in 22 states. The research team looked at the crash rates of models equipped with automatic braking and front-collision warnings versus the identical models, but without the technology. The models included: