Front Crash Prevention Systems Need to Be Better

Front Crash Prevention SystemsAlmost all new cars are equipped with an advanced driver assistance system that helps them avoid crashes and stay clear of road hazards. Front crash prevention systems, like forward collision warning and automatic emergency braking systems, help drivers avoid collisions. Some vehicles come equipped with a pedestrian and cyclist detection system, too. All of these are great first steps, but these systems aren’t perfect.

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), “front crash prevention systems aren’t as good at preventing crashes with large trucks and motorcycles as they are crashes with cars.” The IIHS conducted two studies showing that the front crash prevention system reduced rear-end accidents with semi-trucks by 38 percent and rear-end accidents with motorcycles by 41 percent. However, rear-end accidents with other automobiles were reduced by 53 percent, a significantly higher number.

According to IIHS Vice President of Research Jessica Cicchino, “Safety benefits could be even larger if front crash prevention systems were as good at mitigating and preventing crashes with big trucks and motorcycles as they are with cars.” If these systems worked better with 18-wheelers and motorcycles, we could see a potential reduction of more than 5,000 truck accidents and over 500 motorcycle accidents each year.

Why does it matter whether the crash prevention system includes trucks and motorcycles?

A study conducted by the IIHS found that medium and large commercial trucks are struck by automobile drivers in approximately 43 percent of fatal rear-end crashes. While automobiles are hit in about 97 percent of rear-end accidents, 43 percent of fatal accidents that could possibly be avoided with better front crash prevention systems.

A better crash prevention system could also help protect motorcyclists who already face many risks on the roadway. For example, motorcycles do not have the same protections as passenger vehicles, such as airbags, seat belts, and an outer shield. Therefore, when a motorcyclist is rear-ended, the only protection they might have are helmets, padded clothing, gloves, and boots. As a result, when they fly off their bikes directly onto the pavement, severe and traumatic injuries often result.

Conversely, due to the size and weight of semi-trucks, automobile drivers are commonly injured even if they rear end large trucks. In fact, deadly underride accidents are usually the result of a rear-end accident involving a car and semi-truck. Therefore, vehicles must have a crash prevention system that includes motorcycles and semi-trucks to reduce injuries and fatalities.

How does a front crash prevention system work?

A front crash prevention system uses cameras and sensors to detect other vehicles and prevent auto accidents. These systems observe the roadway ahead of the car to detect upcoming obstacles, accidents, or vehicles in the way. Some front crash prevention systems provide a warning to the driver while others push on the brakes to help avoid the accident. If this is not possible, the system will press on the brakes to try to reduce the seriousness of the accident. Here are the components of the front crash prevention system and what they do:

  • Cameras: The system typically uses a camera mounted on the front-end of the vehicle to produce clear electronic images that provide information regarding the distance between the camera and the vehicle/ obstacle/ accident ahead.
  • Laser beams or sensors: Laser beams or sensors can calculate exactly how large the gap is between the vehicle/ obstacle/ accident and the front of your car. Once this determination is made, the system will be alerted, assess your speed, and issue a warning if necessary.
  • Radio waves: Radio waves help the system measure the distance between your vehicle and other vehicles/ objects/ accidents/ obstacles. When the radio waves inform the system that you are too close to another vehicle, it may warn you to slow down. If you do not slow down, it may press on the brakes to help avoid an accident.

Although front crash prevention systems are excellent tools to help avoid certain accidents, you cannot necessarily rely on them. Because they may fail to detect a motorcyclist, semi-truck, bicyclist, animal, or even a child who runs out in front of you, it is critical to give your full attention to the roadway and your surroundings while you are behind the wheel because crash prevention system cannot prevent every type of accident.

Safety tech in cars saves a lot of lives; we’d like to see it save even more. Philbrook Law Office is dedicated to standing up for your rights, and to fighting for the best outcome possible for our clients. No matter what questions or concerns you might have, we are ready to answer and address them. If you were injured in a car accident in Washington State, let us help. Call our injury lawyers in Vancouver or Battle Ground, WA today, or fill out our contact form. The initial consultation is free. Proudly serving Washington State and the greater Portland, OR area.