Are Automatic Braking Systems Safe?
In March 2016, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced that auto makers in the United States must include automatic braking systems as part of the standard features on all vehicles. Automatic braking systems (ABS) are designed so that the brakes are automatically applied in risky situations, even when a driver hasn’t applied them.
And in the summer of the same year, the American Automobile Association (AAA) conducted its own study to determine how safe these systems really are.
AAA found that there are problems with both the safety of the systems themselves and also with the understanding of drivers when it comes to ABS.
Some of these braking systems are designed to prevent crashes altogether, while some are designed only to reduce the risk of crashes. Those designed to prevent crashes from occurring in the first place were found to be almost twice as effective as those designed to simply reduce the possibility of a crash.
In order to test the actual systems, AAA joined forces with the Automobile Club of Southern California’s Automotive Research Center. Together they tested five car models: the Volvo XC 90, the Subaru Legacy, the Lincoln MKX, the Honda Civic, and the Volkswagen Passat.
Each model was tested while traveling at a speed of 30 miles per hour or under. Those with braking systems installed that only reduced the likelihood of a crash avoided them only 33% of the time. The models with braking systems designed to avoid crashes fared better, but still only avoided collisions 60% of the time.
Can ABS Prevent Accidents?
When a person is driving with a system meant only to reduce and not prevent crashes from happening, he or she may place too much faith in the braking system, instead of driving defensively.
Toyota and Lexus have stated that by the end of 2017, 25 of their 30 models will be equipped with this standard safety feature. And nearly every auto maker in the United States has already agreed to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s deadline of 2022. This relatively short timeline, and the findings from AAA’s study, show just how important it is that we all realize the safety, or lack thereof, of the systems they are installing. Don’t count on ABS to brake for you.
If you have been injured in a car accident, and you feel that a failure of an automatic braking system is to blame, contact the Breyer Law Offices, P.C., at (602) 267-1280. We believe that all drivers have the right to know what they’re using when behind the wheel, and when those systems aren’t safe, our auto product liability lawyers will fight to protect the rights of car accident victims.
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Confidentially reviewed by Attorney Mark Breyer