This past Thursday, only one non-luxury car, the 2014 Chevrolet Impala, was able to achieve the highest safety rating in new tests of high-tech crash prevention systems conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).
The IIHS was looking to see how automobiles equipped with automatic braking systems and collision warnings reacted in a crash test environment, and any systems which were able to apply automatic brakes to significantly slow cars down, and warn the driver of the potential crash, received the rating of “superior.”
Luxury cars which received superior rating status included the Buick Regal, the Cadillac CTS, and the 2015 Hyundai Genesis. The warning systems these cars employ typically consists of car camera systems, lasers and radars in order to gauge whether a car is getting too close to the vehicle in front of it. The majority of systems which received a “superior” rating warned their drivers audibly and/or with vibrations as they automatically prepared the brakes.
The IIHS began testing these new high-tech crash prevention systems last fall, with the hopes of encouraging more automakers to add the features to their vehicles. The institute reports that 20% of 2014 models now offer automatic braking, and 40% offer forward collision warnings. Overall, the industry seems to have responded positively to the testing. Last September, the first round of testing found that 33% of surveyed vehicles received only a Basic rating. In this round of testing, 88% of surveyed vehicles received at least a medium grade of Advanced, with only three receiving the lowest rating, Basic.
IIHS’s decision to test these crash prevention systems came as the result of insurance data which suggested that using cameras, lasers, and automatic braking could help not only reduce collisions, but also avoid the severity of damages and injuries if a collision did occur. As a result of the IIHS’s findings, it is likely that insurance companies will begin offering greater discounts for drivers who install or choose these warning systems for their vehicles.