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Front crash prevention systems reduce crashes, injuries: IIHS studyby Drew Johnson
Front crash prevention systems can effectively avoid a rear-end collision.
A new study conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has found that vehicles equipped with front crash prevention systems are far less likely to be involved in a rear-end accident than those vehicles without such systems.
Though not a shocking conclusion, the results show that there is a real benefit to front crash prevention systems. According to the study, automatic braking systems reduce rear-end collisions by about 40 percent on average. Forward collision warning systems, which warn drivers of an impending impact but don't apply the brakes, were found to reduce rear-end crashes by 23 percent.
If all vehicles were equipped with auto brake, the IIHS estimates that there would have been 700,000 fewer rear-end collisions in 2013.
"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.”
Moreover, the study found that rear-end crashes involving vehicles equipped with auto braking had a 42 percent decrease in reported injuries. That figure jumps to 47 percent with Volvo's City Safety system.
"Even when a crash isn't avoided, systems that have auto brake have a good chance of preventing injuries by reducing the impact speed," says Jessica Cicchino, the study's author and the Institute's vice president for research.
Forward collision warning systems alone, however, didn't have a measurable affect on injuries. The study found that such warning systems reduced injuries by only 6 percent, which isn't statically significant. "It's surprising that forward collision warning didn't show more of an injury benefit, given that HLDI has found big reductions in injury claims with the feature," said Cicchino.
Although auto brake systems are clearly beneficial, IIHS notes that such systems are often bundled with other technologies like adaptive cruise control, so their exact effectiveness is difficult to track.
The IIHS along with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced last year that they has reached an accord with automakers to make auto braking standard across all vehicles, but a date for that implementation has not been set.