The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety is among one of several well-respected organizations heralding the effectiveness of automatic emergency braking systems, as the technology has passed a battery of tests with flying colors.
With more of the nation's automobiles featuring AEB as a standard inclusion, Americans themselves can attest to their utility, as a recent survey found that their brakes may very well have saved their lives.
In a newly released poll from Consumer Reports, the vast majority of those surveyed attested to the fact that advanced safety features installed in their automobiles prevented them from involvement in a car accident. Indeed, 60% said that of all the safety features most responsible for their protection, collision avoidance systems were at the forefront, an umbrella term which includes brakes as well as blind spot monitoring.
The capability of these technologies hit very close to home for Illinois resident James Eriksen, who was driving his 2017 Subaru Outback when a deer came out of nowhere and dashed in front of his vehicle. It happened so quickly that it prevented him from swerving. As it turned out, he didn't need to.
"Before I could fully apply the brakes, my Outback came to a complete stop on its own," Eriksen wrote in a survey conducted by Consumer Reports. " That was amazing!"
9 of 11 small SUVs examined highly rated by IIHS
SUVs, like the Subaru Outback, that come equipped with automatic braking systems have proven particularly adept at reducing the severity of roadway accidents. Indeed, as reported by CBS News, the Subaru Forester and Toyota RAV4 are among the sport utility vehicles whose pedestrian and animal strike avoidance systems are the most effective, based on analysis conducted by IIHS. Of the 11 small SUVs examined, nine scored "superior" or "advanced."
While fender-benders are of course less serious than head-on collisions, they're nonetheless frustrating and can increase the cost of auto insurance when policyholders file a claim. However, a 2018 IIHS study found that park assist technology reduces the risk of rear-enders by more than 75% when compared with automobiles that don't have these systems in place.
"Even though backing up is a routine maneuver, there's a lot of information to process,' said Jessica Cicchino, vice president of research at IIHS. "Park-assist systems can help with this task if drivers can see what's in the camera display, heed the alerts and respond appropriately. Rear autobrake adds another level of safety because it doesn't rely on drivers to take action to avoid a crash."
"57% of respondents said that at least one crash avoidance feature prevented them from a likely accident."
AEB represents one aspect of tech features
Automatic emergency braking is just one of many crash avoidance functionalities found in many of the nation's passenger vehicles. Other systems include forward collision warning and blind spot monitoring. In the same poll conducted by Consumer Reports, 57% of respondents said that at least one of these features prevented them from a likely accident since purchasing their automobiles.
It's a stark contrast from 2016, when automatic emergency braking was a fairly recent phenomenon. As reported by CNN, the American Automobile Association warned that while AEB technology was off to a good start, the quality of these systems tended to differ from one automaker to the next.
Greg Brannon, AAA director of automotive engineering, told CNN at the time that there was plenty of room for improvement.
"It's an excellent technology and if I was shopping for a vehicle today, it's one I would look for," Brannon explained. "That said, there's a big gap between consumer understanding of the systems and the system's performance."
IIHS agrees with AAA's assessment even three years later, noting that autobrake could prevent as many as 70% of all front-to-rear crashes, which is significantly higher than its current 56%.
While more people are fully on board with the notion that AEB brakes perform when they're needed the most, they're far less certain about self-driving cars' ability to keep them safe. Nearly 55% of Americans say that can't picture themselves actually using an autonomous vehicle, based on a Gallup survey, and 62% readily admit that they'd feel uneasy sharing the road with fully autonomous trucks, of which the motor carrier industry is fully invested in to counteract the fallout from driver shortages.
The best way to convert skeptics is by putting your equipment to the test. Greening Associates is uniquely qualified to assess the quality of braking systems and is certified by the American Association for Laboratory Accreditation.
Contact us today for a complimentary brake testing consultation.