AAA Report on Automatic Brakes and Car Accidents

Car_Emergency_Brake_symbol_2484096111_oDo automatic emergency braking systems actually prevent car accidents? In other words, if you purchase a new vehicle with an automatic emergency braking system, can you simply stop worrying about paying attention to the car that is in front of you on the freeway or in your neighborhood? According to a recent news release from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, not all self-braking cars are made in the same way, and they do not all work at the same levels as one another. In other words, not all automatic braking systems have the same rates of success, and thereby the same accident-prevention abilities. The news release indicates how “new test results from AAA reveal that automatic braking systems—the safety technology that will soon be standard equipment on 99 percent of vehicles—vary widely in design and performance.”

What else should drivers in San Diego know about the recent AAA test and the future of automatic braking systems?

What Drivers Think Versus What Automatic Braking Systems Actually Do

As the news release emphasizes, all new automatic braking systems have the ability to prevent a traffic collision from happening regardless of speed, and thus AAA “urges consumers to fully understand system limitations before getting behind the wheel.” Yet consumer expectations might end up being the biggest problem of all when it comes to automatic brakes, and consumers’ failure to engage the brakes because they own a car with this safety technology could actually result in more accidents. In short, consumers think automatic emergency braking systems will do all the work, but they are mistaken.

As John Nielsen, the AAA managing director of Automotive Engineering and Repair, “AAA found that two-thirds of Americans familiar with the technology believe that automatic emergency braking systems are designed to avoid crashes without driver intervention.” However, as Nielsen clarifies, “the reality is that today’s systems vary greatly in performance, and many are not designed to stop a moving car.”

Some of these systems are designed so that the vehicle will be able to slow the car down or bring it to a complete stop in order to avoid a rear-end collision, while others are simply designed to reduce speed in order to make the crash—when it happens—less severe.

Automatic Braking Can Help to Prevent Crashes

Despite the fact that consumers do not really understand what automatic emergency braking systems do, if automobile drivers are taught how to handle these systems, they can indeed work to prevent crashes. In testing the capacities of various automatic brakes, AAA researchers came to some of the following conclusions:

  • Automatic emergency braking systems that are designed to prevent crashes could reduce the speed of a car—without driver intervention—by more than double that of automatic emergency braking systems designed only to lessen crash severity;
  • Automatic emergency braking systems designed for crash-prevention do in fact prevent accidents successfully about 60%t of the time; and
  • Even when pushed beyond proposed limits, automatic emergency braking systems designed for crash-prevention could reduce the car’s speed by about 74% (resulting in accident avoidance in around 40% of cases), while systems designed only to lessen crash impact reduced speed only by about 9%.

If you were involved in a car accident in Southern California, you may be able to file a claim for compensation. You should discuss your case with an experienced San Diego auto accident lawyer today. Contact the Walton Law Firm to learn more about how we can help.

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