Driving soon may become safer, but the technology that helps prevent crashes won’t bring insurance rates under control as fast as it does cars.
Ten major car manufacturers Friday agreed to make automatic emergency braking (AEB) a standard feature on all new vehicles.
The agreement was announced jointly by the U.S. Department of Transportation, its National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).
“We are entering a new era of vehicle safety, focused on preventing crashes from ever occurring, rather than just protecting occupants when crashes happen,” Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said. “But if technologies such as automatic emergency braking are only available as options or on the most expensive models, too few Americans will see the benefits of this new era.”
AEB technology can reduce insurance injury claims by as much as 35 percent, officials said. The 10 manufacturers committing to across-the-board AEB represented 57 percent of U.S. light-duty vehicle sales in 2014.
The manufacturers are:
- General Motors
Officials said the details of when automatic braking becomes standard will be worked out in the next several months.
While AEB can lower the cost of claims by 35 percent, officials said, the technology may not put the brakes on your insurance premium — at least not yet.
Janet Ruiz, spokeswoman for the Insurance Information Institute, told The Los Angeles Times that many factors go into insurance rates, so motorists with this safety feature won’t necessarily see premiums drop until the long-term effectiveness is known.
AEB technology helps prevent rear impacts, NHTSA says, noting that one-third of all police-reported crashes in 2013 involved a rear-end collision with another vehicle at the start of the crash.
AEB systems vary but include radar, cameras or lasers to detect an imminent crash, warn the driver and, if the driver does not take sufficient action, engage the brakes.
“The evidence is mounting that AEB is making a difference,” said IIHS President Adrian Lund. “Most crashes involve driver error. This technology can compensate for the mistakes every driver makes because the systems are always on alert, monitoring the road ahead and never getting tired or distracted.”
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