Recent studies – one by a government/auto industry alliance and one by the insurance industry – revealed that automatic braking could reduce rear-end automobile crashes by 50 percent. Pickup collisions went down more than 40 percent. Both relied on crash data for the calculations and focused on imminent impacts or slow ones to minimize the severity of possible injuries.
The Partnership for Analytics Research in Traffic Safety looked at auto equipment data from 13 states where police reported 12 million crashes. The data was collected by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. In addition to emergency braking, studies also delved into forward collision warnings.
Results revealed a 49 percent reduction when the vehicle causing the accident had a forward collision alert in addition to automatic braking as opposed to cars lacking the system.
Specific findings include:
- Rear-end accident injuries are down by 53 percent.
- Forward collision warning systems reduced rear-end crashes by 16 percent
- Rear crashes with injuries decreased by 19 percent
Less-than-ideal conditions of roadways, weather, or lighting were not factors, as AEB functioned effectively in all conditions.
In the category of lane departure warning, crashes were reduced by eight percent when lane-keeping systems were activated, and road departure accident injuries went down by seven percent.
A study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety also found automatic emergency braking reduces pickup rear crashes by 43% and rear-end injury collisions by 42%. The IIHS noted that pickups – vehicles that present more danger to vehicles sharing the road – are less likely to have automatic braking than cars and SUVs.
Even without government mandates, twenty automobile companies are taking steps to voluntarily commit to making cutting-edge braking technology standard equipment on 95 percent of light-duty trucks. The goal is to complete the transition during the current model year ending in August 2023.
While technology helps keep drivers safe, little can be done about drivers operating their vehicles negligently can still lead to dangerous and potentially deadly accidents.