IIHS Releases Ratings for Cars with Front Crash Prevention Systems

IIHS Releases Ratings for Cars with Front Crash Prevention Systems
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September 04, 2015

A world of driverless cars is still in well in the future, but data from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) finds that 47 percent of new cars offer some kind of optional front crash prevention system.

This is the third year that the IIHS has released ratings for front crash prevention systems and more than a dozen new models earned the highest ratings of superior.

The Institute rates vehicles as basic, advanced or superior for front crash prevention depending on whether they offer autobrake and, if so, how effective it is in tests at 12 and 25 mph.

Luxury cars are more likely to have an optional front crash prevention system with Acura, Mercedes-Benz and BMW models making up most of the 14 that earned a superior ratings. The technology is starting to become more prevalent in mid-prized cars from Chrysler, Dodge, Mazda, and Volkswagen, which also had models that scored a superior rating.

Front crash prevention systems use various types of sensors, such as cameras, radar or laser, to detect when the vehicle is getting too close to one in front of it. Most systems issue a warning and precharge the brakes to maximize their effect if the driver responds by braking. Many systems automatically brake the vehicle if the driver doesn't respond. In some cases, automatic braking is activated without a warning.

A little more than 25 percent of new cars come with an autobrake option.

Forward collision warning systems that meet performance criteria set by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and autobrake systems that provide only minimal speed reduction in IIHS tests earn a basic rating.

Vehicles that combine the warning with moderate speed reductions earn an advanced rating. It also is possible to qualify for an advanced rating with an autobrake system that doesn't first warn the driver before taking action.

Models that provide major speed reductions in IIHS tests earn a superior rating.