An automatic braking system is supposed to be a new standard safety feature on nearly every vehicle soon. AAA recently found that automatic braking systems vary greatly when it comes to performance and design. Every system tested by AAA was designed to employ the brakes if the driver failed to do so. For systems designed to lessen crash severity, the speed was reduced by only about half of the speed reduction of systems designed specifically for reducing speed and preventing a crash.

In a survey among American drivers, AAA found that more than 65 percent of respondents believed that these systems braked without the help of the driver. However, experts warned that the majority of today’s systems are not designed to stop a moving vehicle. With the help of the Automobile Club of Southern California, AAA analyzed five new vehicle models that came with automatic braking systems. Each system was put through several real-world tests to measure their capabilities and limitations. They were grouped into two categories based on whether they were meant to stop crashes or lessen crash severity. These were the findings after 70 trials:

  • Systems designed to prevent crashes escaped collisions in 60 percent of incidents when the vehicle was traveling below 30 miles per hour.
  • System variations were very pronounced when pushed beyond their limitations.
  • Systems designed to lessen crash severity escaped accidents in less than 35 percent of incidents.
  • Systems designed to lessen crash severity could only reduce vehicle speed by less than 10 miles per hour when approaching another vehicle at 45 miles per hour.
  • When approaching another vehicle at 45 miles per hour, systems meant to prevent accidents lowered speed by about 75 percent and were able to avoid 40 percent of accident scenarios.

In addition to these tests, AAA performed a survey among American drivers to analyze their buying habits in relation to automatic braking systems. Almost 10 percent of respondents had braking systems on their current car or truck. Of those who did not have braking systems, 40 percent cited wanting to buy a vehicle with this type of system as their next purchase. Another 40 percent cited trusting these systems to do their job.

Men were more likely than women to make a braking system a priority when buying a new vehicle. Drivers who already had a vehicle with a braking system were more likely to have faith that it would work than those who had never owned an automobile with this type of system. Although experts recommend buying a vehicle with a braking system, they also stress the importance of understanding its limitations. To learn more, discuss your concerns with your ROX Insurance agent.

Irene Rayrao –
Cindy Garcia –