IIHS studies the safety benefits of automatic braking systems

Car buyers in Texas who are concerned about safety should consider getting a vehicle equipped with an automatic braking system, according to researchers from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. The nonprofit road safety advocacy group recently analyzed police accident reports to determine how effective this technology is in real-world situations, and they discovered that it reduces rear-end impacts by up to 68 percent.

General Motors began offering automatic braking systems on its sedans, pickup trucks and SUVs in 2013. As part of its study, the IIHS scrutinized police reports of rear-end crashes involving GM vehicles. Researchers then checked a list of serial numbers provided by GM to see how many of the accidents involved cars equipped with the automatic safety systems.

They concluded that vehicles equipped with the technology were involved in 40 percent fewer rear-end collisions, 64 percent fewer rear-end collisions involving injuries and 68 percent fewer rear-end collisions resulting in injuries to third parties. Rear-end collisions account for about a third of all auto accidents in the United States. Based on that figure, potentially thousands of injuries could be prevented each year if all passenger vehicles were equipped with automatic braking and front collision systems. Federal regulators have not proposed making the systems mandatory, but automakers have vowed to include them on all passenger vehicles sold in the United States by 2022.

Police reports can also provide valuable information to personal injury attorneys pursuing compensation on behalf of car accident victims. While these reports do not always come to firm conclusions regarding who is to blame, rear-end collisions are generally considered the fault of the driver who struck the rear of the other vehicle.

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