Vehicle safety technology has undergone a drastic transformation over the last decade as automakers have devised new features to keep passengers safe outside of just airbags, seatbelts and anti-lock brakes.
To illustrate, consider the advent of front crash prevention systems, a safety feature now being offered on a growing variety of vehicle makes and models. These systems utilize a complex network of sensors -- cameras, laser, radar, etc. -- to measure the vehicle's distance in relation to an object immediately in front of it. If the vehicle crosses a certain threshold without slowing, the majority of systems will sound an alert and pre-charge the brakes in the event the driver proceeds to slam on them in response.
Other front crash prevention systems will sound a warning and automatically apply the brakes in the event the driver fails to take the necessary action, while still others will automatically apply the brakes with no prior warning.
In recognition of the growing popularity of this safety feature, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety introduced a new ratings program last September designed to test the efficacy of automakers' front crash prevention systems.
Here, vehicles whose front crash prevention systems are equipped with an autobrake feature are tested at speeds of 12 miles-per-hour and 25 miles-per-hour, and assigned the following ratings:
- Basic: Meets the performance criteria established by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration while autobrake systems provide minimal speed reduction.
- Advanced: Meets the performance criteria established by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration while autobrake systems provide moderate speed reduction.
- Superior: Meets the performance criteria established by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration while autobrake systems provide significant speed reduction.
"We know that this technology is helping drivers avoid crashes," said the executive vice president of the IIHS. "The advantage of autobrake is that even in cases where a crash can't be avoided entirely, the system will reduce speed. Reducing the speed reduces the amount of damage that occurs to both the striking and struck cars and reduces injuries to people in those cars."
It is worth noting that in the latest round of front crash prevention system testing by the IIHS, eight models were given superior ratings, 13 were given advanced ratings and only three were given basic ratings.
Is your vehicle equipped with a front crash prevention system? If so, how has it performed?
If you were seriously injured in a rear-end collision or any other type of car accident, consider speaking with an experienced legal professional to learn more about your options for seeking both justice and peace of mind.
Source: Claims Journal, "Front crash prevention systems in autos key to preventing crashes," May 29, 2014