In April, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) released a report looking at collision avoidance technologies that are currently available in some vehicles. The report found that technologies such as Blind Spot Warning (BSW), Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB) and Forward Collision Warning (FCW) systems reduced bodily injury claims by more than 15%. However, the report found that other technologies, like Lane Centering Warning (LCW), did not offer a significant benefit in avoiding crashes.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has recently been working with auto manufacturers in an effort to improve vehicle safety through these types of on-board collision avoidance technologies. The intent has been to improve technologies that will prevent distracted driving collisions, which, according to NHTSA, account for nearly 95% of all highway accidents.
In fact, in March 2016, NHTSA was able to get a majority of auto manufacturers to commit to implementing AEB as a standard feature in lightweight vehicles. AEB technology includes a number of on-vehicle technologies, such as radar, camera and lasers to detect potential crash threats. This technology is supposed to recognize potential collisions and engage the brakes if a driver does not react soon enough to avoid an accident. Studies have shown that FCW systems, coupled with AEB systems, have the potential to reduce crashes of all severities by 50%. However, the technologies employed by some manufacturers have a limited scope of operation, instead of working at all times.
Lawyers in our firm are involved in several ongoing cases where AEB and FCW systems failed to detect other vehicles in front of operating vehicles so as to avoid collisions. As a result, our clients have suffered severe injuries, as well as family members dying. While these technologies have statistically shown to be important in the reduction of accidents at all severities, not all technologies are the same, and NHTSA should provide manufacturers with guidance to ensure that these technologies can provide consistent protection at all levels in all vehicles.
This story appears in the September 2020 issue of The Jere Beasley Report. For more like this, visit the Report online and subscribe.