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How effective are automatic emergency brakes?

On Behalf of | Jul 5, 2019 | Car Accidents

We have all seen the car commercials that advertise a new car’s ability to alert the driver and even brake automatically if they detect something too close to the front of the car. Nearly 10% of cars on U.S. roads today have this technology, but auto manufacturers would like to include this technology in all vehicles by 2022.

Rear-end collisions are some of the most common accidents, but how well do automatic emergency brakes (AEB) really work to reduce crashes?

AEB assist has helped reduce the number of accidents

According to Consumer Reports, AEB technology has reduced collisions by an average of 50% across the board. And the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) estimates that increasing the number of vehicles with this technology will only help reduce accidents even more. By 2025, IIHS hopes this technology will help drivers prevent:

  • 28,000 auto accidents
  • 12,000 injuries to drivers and passengers

There is no denying how helpful AEB technology is to drivers. However, new technology always has some flaws.

But there are some drawbacks

When agencies like Consumer Reports or Car and Driver magazine tested these technologies, they discovered some common issues that drivers may face, including:

  • Some brands and manufacturers perform better than others in preventing accidents
  • The AEB sensors are in different locations on different vehicles
  • The sensors often detect vehicles, but they might not always detect bicyclists or pedestrians
  • The technology often works differently at different speeds
  • Some technologies try to stop the car, while others only slow the vehicle to reduce the severity of the crash

So, AEB technology may be helpful, but there is still room for error that could put drivers in danger if they are not paying attention.

Could technology really eliminate car accidents?

The Texas Department of Transportation recently announced a campaign with the goal of eliminating traffic fatalities by the year 2050. Their campaign involves:

  • Increasing traffic patrols
  • Changing infrastructure
  • Increasing ad campaigns
  • Educating drivers about dangers

If IIHS’s estimates are correct, it is possible that more driver assist technologies on the road could also help Texas reach this goal. However, drivers cannot leave all of the work up to technology.

The bottom line: Drivers cannot depend on technology

While this technology is helpful and effective, Texas drivers must still ensure that they stay alert behind the wheel. It is critical for motorists to keep their full attention on the road at all times to help keep themselves, as well as all other drivers on the road, safe.


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