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IIHS studies rear automatic braking and other safety tech

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has recently tested the effect of collision avoidance systems on several new vehicle models. These systems included rear automatic braking and rear-view cameras and sensors. Their findings should interest drivers in Pennsylvania and elsewhere in the U.S. due to the frequency of backup collisions.

The IIHS found that backup crashes were reduced by 62 percent in vehicles with rear automatic braking systems. When this technology was combined with rearview cameras and sensors, the figure jumped to 78 percent. Out of the vehicle models they tested, researchers gave the highest ratings to the 2017 Subaru Outback and Cadillac XT5 SUV. While the test results were overwhelmingly positive, there were some hiccups. One car, for instance, failed to detect a car parked at an angle behind it.

One limitation of rear automatic braking is that it focuses more on avoiding obstacles, like other vehicles, rather than pedestrians. Also, rear automatic braking is currently available on only a mere 5 percent of new vehicles and sometimes in high-priced packages.

The government has mandated that automakers include rearview cameras in their vehicles starting May 2018, and this requirement has prompted some companies to go a step further and incorporate reverse automatic braking and backup warning sensors. Front automatic braking systems are poised to become standard features by 2022.

In the meantime, drivers remain responsible for their actions behind the wheel and can be liable for any car accidents that they cause. Victims can file an accident claim that, if successful, could compensate them for vehicle repair costs, medical expenses and lost time from work. They should hire lawyers beforehand, though, as legal professionals can evaluate the claim, build up the evidence with the help of investigators and either negotiate or litigate for the settlement.