Despite improvements in overall traffic safety, rear-end collisions still occur all too frequently, and injuries stemming from those crashes are common. Drivers that are impaired, distracted or drowsy cause many of these accidents. Although efforts continue to keep motorists off the road when they are not fully alert and focused, forward collision avoidance technologies address the problem in another manner. For example, automated braking may slow a vehicle so that a rear-end collision is averted.
Now, a new study provides dramatic evidence of the effectiveness of such systems in limiting car accidents. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) completed its study of rear-end collisions using police-reported crash information.
The new study provides strong evidence that wider use of existing forward collision safety technologies could greatly reduce injury accidents in the United States.
Significant Reduction in Crashes
The January 2016 report, entitled “Effectiveness of Forward Collision Warning Systems with and without Autonomous Emergency Braking in Reducing Police-reported Crash Rates,” details the findings.
For the study, researchers reviewed police-reported accidents across 27 states that occurred from 2010 to 2014. They focused on vehicles with optional front crash protection, including models produced by Honda, Subaru, Acura, Mercedes and Volvo. The study only included rear-end collisions in which one of the vehicles with the safety system struck another vehicle from behind.
The study underscores the value of both automatic braking and forward collision warning systems. Researchers found that automatic braking reduced rear-end collisions by about 40 percent, and forward collision warning systems reduced such crashes by 23 percent.
The most dramatic results occurred with Volvos on roads with speed limits of 40 mph to 45 mph. On those roads, Volvos equipped with forward crash avoidance systems were 54 percent less likely to rear-end another vehicle than comparable cars without forward collision protection. Researchers conceded that adaptive cruise control deserves some of the credit in mitigating damage and injury in such collisions, but the positive impact of automated braking is evident.
Potential for Further Accident Reduction
The report calculates that mandated automated braking could avert many crashes every year. Jessica Cicchino, lead author of the report, says that about 700,000 traffic accidents could have been avoided in 2013 if every vehicle in America had automated braking. That number represents approximately 13 percent of all 2013 police-reported crashes. This hypothetical reduction in accidents would eliminate 300,000 injuries as well, says Cicchino.
David Zuby, the chief research officer at IIHS, suggested that reductions in rear-end collisions will lessen the number of whiplash injuries that “cause a lot of pain and lost productivity.”
Automated Braking Rarely a Standard Feature
However, according to the IIHS, only one percent of 2015 model year vehicles included automated braking as a standard feature, while it was an option on another 26 percent of 2015 vehicles.
Although automated braking systems are still optional on many new vehicles, such significant evidence may lead auto manufacturers to make automatic braking standard on more of their vehicles. Government agencies and industry watchdogs are promoting the idea. In September 2015, NHTSA, the IIHS and 10 major automakers agreed in principle to make automated braking standard in the future.
At Patterson Dahlburg Injury Lawyers, we want to see you and your family remain safe on the nation’s roadways. However, if you or a family member does sustain an injury in a traffic accident, we are here to assist. Our firm offers a complimentary consultation with an attorney focused on relevant aspects of personal injury law. We fight hard to fully protect the legal interests of our clients, and there is no cost to you in a personal injury case unless we succeed in getting you compensation for your injuries. To learn more about our legal services, please contact us.