A study released this week by the Insurance Institute For Highway Safety (IIHS) proves that forward collision prevention systems with automatic braking do work, and could prevent 700,000 accidents in the U.S. per year.
The study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety looked at U.S. models over five model years that had forward collision prevention (FCP) technology and Emergency Auto Braking (EAB). A group of similar models from the same years without these active safety measures acted as the control group. The study found that there is a significant reduction in accidents from the use of the technology. FCP can either warn of an impending impact, or it can both warn of the impact and also provide emergency automatic braking (EAB). The systems that did both reduced rear-end collisions by 40% and also had a measurable reduction in injury-causing crashes. The systems that only warned of an impending impact reduced crashes by 23% but did not have any meaningful reduction in injuries.
Forward collision prevention works using cameras and radar to scan the road ahead. When the system detects an impending crash, it first warns of the situation using audible, visual, and sometimes haptic (vibration) alerts. If the driver does not react in time, or if the driver cannot react as fast as the system can, then emergency automatic braking is enabled and the car will apply the brakes. This author was in a vehicle in which the system prevented a crash last year. Many readers often point out that “Paying attention” is the best protection from a forward crash. Though that is true, FCP can react faster than a driver can. Some systems, like those found in Infiniti and Nissan products, can also see vehicles ahead, beyond the driver’s field of vision. Such a system can see a crash about to happen that a driver cannot and take action.
Also investigated was a low-speed FCP system called City Safety by Volvo. This system is used in cities and in traffic to reduce crashes and pedestrian impacts. Although it was limited to lower speeds, the system worked very well and even out-performed other FCP systems on roads with speed limits beyond City Safety’s rated speed limit.
Ten automakers pledged recently to make FCP with EAB standard across all models. If you are not convinced the system would help you to prevent a crash, ask yourself this question. “Would you prefer the vehicle behind you had it or not?”