Watch CBS News

Report: Tech Systems That Prevent Crashes Effectively Save Lives

ARLINGTON, VA (WWJ) - New tests from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety show the promise of systems that automatically brake vehicles to prevent collisions.

"More and more technology is enabling cars to help drivers avoid being in crashes in the first place," says Institute Chief Research Officer David Zuby. "We think we can have big safety gains by pushing for that kind of technology."

Twenty-one of twenty-four vehicles tested by the institute fared well in a new round of testing.

LINK: Front Crash Prevention Rankings

The tests involved preventing collisions at 12 and 25 miles per hour. Systems that brake automatically received an "advanced rating." Those that gave warnings to drivers were rated "basic." "Superior" ratings were given to the eight vehicles that did the best at crash prevention.

"We know that this technology is helping drivers avoid crashes," Zuby says. "The advantage of autobrake is that even in cases where a crash can't be avoided entirely, the system will reduce speed. Reducing the speed reduces the amount of damage that occurs to both the striking and struck cars and reduces injuries to people in those cars."

Most of the automatic braking systems are optional. And while they are seen more in high-end vehicles, more mass market cars have the systems.

They are not without controversy. The government is investigating one complaint that an automatic braking system caused an accident by stopping a Chevy Impala when it wasn't necessary.

"We've not experienced any unexpected braking from these vehicle in our testing," said Zuby. "But, we are aware that there have been some complaints from people who have purchased these cars, or are driving these cars. So, we're keeping an eye on that situation."

Starting with the 2015 model year, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety will require an advanced or better rating to win the top ranking of Top Safety Pick+. As more vehicles do better on crash tests, Zuby says crash prevention is the best way to save additional lives.

"We're trying to make sure that systems are doing their utmost to help drivers avoid being in crashes."

Connect with Jeff Gilbert
Twitter: @jefferygilbert

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.