Recent advances in technology have made cars more convenient and intuitive than ever. One of the most significant of these advances includes automatic braking systems. Luckily, these are quickly becoming more common in new vehicles—and it is not hard to see why. Such technology can easily be lifesaving in the event of a crash. However, existing data suggests that today’s consumers underestimate its importance. In fact, unless it comes standard with their vehicle, today’s automobile buyers are actually more likely to reject auto braking systems rather than purchase it. In this blog post, we will explore whether or not emergency auto braking should come standard in all new vehicles.
Automatic emergency braking systems, or AEB systems, are a relatively new technology. Therefore, it is not uncommon for consumers to be unaware of its machinations. Although they may sound complex, AEB systems may be more simple than you may imagine. In the simplest terms, it comes down to this: AEB systems are constantly and vigilantly at work to detect a potential impending crash with either another vehicle or object. The AEB system then notifies the driver (usually through a series of beeps or visual aids) in order to give them a chance to correct their path. If it becomes necessary to mitigate the collision, however, the AEB system will apply the brakes itself in order to assist in stopping the vehicle.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) calls AEB systems the “next wave of potential significant advances” in vehicle technology and safety. At the very least, AEB systems have the potential to reduce the severity of crashes. In certain cases, they may even be able to save lives that would have otherwise been lost. For these reasons, the NHTSA now includes the very existence of an AEB system in their five-star rating system for automobiles.
As mentioned earlier in this blog post, AEB systems work by constantly seeking out potential threats to the driver’s safety. Such potential threats can be assessed through radar, lasers, camera sensors, or a combination of all of the above. It then notifies the driver through a hazard alert, which may include a sound and/or a visual aid, to give them a chance to correct their course. However, as human reaction time is not always the most reliable, the AEB system may end up taking action on its own.
This “emergency alert system” is sometimes also known as a forward collision warning (FCW) system. An FCW system has the ability to view further into traffic and function more quickly than any human driver. In addition to providing a hazard alert, the FCW system may also include features such as seat belt locking technology. Seat belt locking technology is an added bonus because it has the potential to reduce injury from impacts by bracing the passengers for impact.
AEB systems also include dynamic brake support (DBS) and crash imminent braking (CIB) features. Dynamic brake support may kick in if the driver does not brake hard enough to avoid the crash by applying the appropriate amount of pressure needed for the situation. Crash imminent braking, on the other hand, may kick in if the driver does not take any action to avoid the crash at all. In such cases, CIB will automatically apply the brakes in order to either slow or stop the car. Doing so will help the driver avoid the crash or at least reduce its severity. Both DBS and CIB features have been available on at least some vehicle models in the United States since 2006 and have proven to be altogether beneficial to drivers.
According to a recent article from Auto Blog, data provided both from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety showed that most consumers choose to opt out of purchasing emergency auto braking systems when they do not come standard to their vehicle. As a matter of fact, a review of the data showed that companies like Fiat-Chrysler, Ford, Hyundai, Kia, and Mitsubishi sold fewer than 10% of vehicles manufactured in 2017 with AEB systems. This likely has much to do with the fact that emergency auto braking systems were presented amongst other pricy, non-essential optional features.
It is hard to imagine that consumers would voluntarily turn down a potentially lifesaving technology for any other reason, especially when considering how frequently most of us drive around with our loved ones. Luckily, by 2022, twenty of the biggest automobile manufacturers will make AEB systems a standard feature in their new vehicles. This encompasses almost all of the American passenger car market. However, exceptions may apply to larger weight vehicles, such as those that weigh over 8,500 pounds (which makes it another fight to be won!).
We believe that the decision to standardized emergency auto braking systems is one that has been long overdue. Even the most seemingly minor car accident can lead to potentially lifelong, disfiguring personal injury. Personal injuries that are not too physically severe can also still be financially, emotionally, and mentally debilitating. Therefore, as we continue moving forward, consumer technology should keep accident prevention systems at the forefront—in order to keep consumer safety at the forefront as well.
Unfortunately, not even emergency auto braking systems can help prevent accidents from occurring entirely. If you or a loved one have recently been involved in a car accident, especially if it was one that resulted in personal injury, we at Injury Victim Law may be able to help. Although we are a Colorado-based firm, our team of experts and investigators is ready and available to help victims all across the United States. Contact us today to schedule an initial consultation with one of our experienced nationwide automobile accident attorneys today. We are here to protect you and your legal interests while also fighting for your rights.