AAA Study Finds Not All Self-Braking Systems Are Created Equal

Posted on behalf of Jeff Pitman on January 19, 2017 in Car Accidents
Updated on April 25, 2024

brake trialAAA tested two automatic braking systems: one designed to prevent crashes and another designed to reduce crash severity.

While both systems are designed to apply the brakes after a driver fails to engage, AAA’s tests found that brake systems designed to prevent crashes reduced speed by nearly twice as much as those intended to reduce collision severity.

AAA conducted 70 trials with five 2016-model-year vehicles that were equipped with the two automatic emergency braking systems, comparing the performance of each system in real-world driving scenarios designed to test the technology’s capabilities.

The test trials of the two automatic emergency braking systems concluded:

  • Systems designed to prevent crashes were able to reduce the vehicle’s speed nearly twice as much (79 percent) than systems designed to reduce the vehicle’s impact severity (40 percent).
  • When tested for effectiveness of speed differentials under 30 miles per hour, systems designed to prevent crashes enabled the vehicle to avoid a collision in 60 percent of trial scenarios. Vehicles equipped with systems designed to reduce crash impact severity were only able to completely avoid nearly 33 percent of trial scenarios.
  • When determining which system could be pushed beyond its stated limitations and federal requirements, the systems had to avoid a stationary object while traveling at 45 miles per hour. Systems designed to prevent crashes reduced the vehicle’s speed by 74 percent, while systems designed to reduce impact severity were only able to reduce vehicle speed by nine percent.

AAA also surveyed drivers to determine consumer opinion and trust of automatic emergency braking systems and found that those familiar with the technology often had misguided opinions on its capabilities.

According to AAA, consumer opinion on automatic emergency braking systems found that:

  • Nearly two-thirds of U.S. drivers believe automatic emergency braking systems are designed to prevent crashes without the need for driver involvement.
  • Nine percent of U.S. drivers currently have vehicles equipped with automatic braking systems.
  • Nearly 40 percent of U.S. drivers want automatic emergency braking systems included in their next vehicle. Men are more likely (42 percent) to want the technology than women (41 percent).
  • Two out of five U.S. drivers do not trust the technology to work as advertised. AAA found that drivers who currently have an automatic emergency braking system included in their vehicle are more likely (71 percent) to trust the technology than those who have yet to use it (41 percent).

Based on its potential to reduce accidents and crash severity, 20 automakers that represent 99 percent of vehicle sales have committed to including automatic emergency braking systems as standard within all new vehicles by 2022.

The Department of Transportation has stated that the voluntary move will significantly increase the inclusion of the safety equipment in newly manufactured vehicles three years sooner than federal regulations would have achieved.

Accidents such as rear-end collisions, which automatic emergency braking systems are designed to reduce, account for nearly 2,000 deaths and 500,000 injuries each year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Currently, only 10 percent of new vehicles are sold with the safety technology already equipped, while more than 50 percent feature the technology as an option.

Improvements in vehicle safety technology, like automatic emergency braking systems, have the potential to save lives and significantly reduce injuries caused by avoidable accidents. If you have been injured or lost a loved one in an accident, contact our Milwaukee auto collision attorneys for a free consultation of your legal options. We provide experienced legal services with no upfront legal fees and only charge if you are awarded damages in your case.

Call 414-333-3333 to learn more about your options after being in a car accident.

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