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Improving Front Crash Prevention Technology

Early reports on front crash prevention technology were mixed, at best. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety conducted testing showing that these systems had very little impact on driver and passenger safety in avoiding car collisions. Some automakers reviewed the testing to see what worked and what didn't and have made changes. The most recent safety ratings from IIHS show improvement for 21 of the 24 vehicles tested. While only the newest vehicles have these systems, the long-term impact of the technology could be substantial.

There are two key pieces of technology that define front crash prevention systems. The first is a warning system telling the driver of an impending forward collision. The second is an automatic braking system that can slow or stop the car without the driver taking any action. The cars that received the best ratings were those that provided for major speed reduction. The autobrake feature has proven most effective in reducing car crashes.

Front crash prevention technology is not standard equipment yet. The best systems come only at significant expense and contain camera systems and radar to help the vehicle determine when to stop. Safety experts hope that these early efforts will yield cheaper options that can help all drivers avoid front collisions. Early results have led automakers to expand the number of vehicles that include these systems as an optional safety package.

New technology is often the driver of safety gains. Seat belts, disc brakes, radial tires, air bags and many other advancements have saved countless lives over the years. Front crash prevention systems could be the next step to making auto travel safer for everyone.

Source: Claims Journal, "Front Crash Prevention Systems in Autos Key to Preventing Crashes," 29 May 2014

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