A recent study conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has shown front crash prevention systems are doing their jobs.
The agency believes that if all vehicles were equipped with autobrake systems, there would have been at least 700,000 fewer police-reported rear-end crashes in 2013.
This is the first study of how effective the feature is using US police-reported crash data, which showed systems with automatic braking reduce rear-end crashes by about 40 percent on average, while forward collision warning alone drops them by 23 percent. The autobrake systems were also found to greatly reduce injuries.
Currently, front crash prevention is most often offered as optional equipment, but the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and IIHS have announced an agreement in principle with automakers to make autobrake standard on all models.
For this particular study, researchers analyzed police-reported rear-end crashes in 22 states during 2010-2014 involving Acura, Honda, Mercedes-Benz, Subaru and Volvo vehicles equipped with optional front crash prevention. The crash rates of vehicles with the technology were compared with the crash rates of the same models without front crash prevention.
Only rear-end crashes where vehicles struck other vehicles were considered. Crashes that involved vehicles that were struck from behind but didn’t hit a vehicle in front were left out, since front crash prevention wouldn’t help prevent those accidents.
“The success of front crash prevention represents a big step toward safer roads,” says David Zuby, IIHS chief research officer. “As this technology becomes more widespread, we can expect to see noticeably fewer rear-end crashes. The same goes for the whiplash injuries that often result from these crashes and can cause a lot of pain and lost productivity.”