According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), automatic braking is doing a great job at cutting down on the number of rear-end collisions. The group claims that if all vehicles had this system, we'd have seen "at least" 700,000 fewer fender benders in 2013 alone.
The study covers police-reported collisions in 22 states from 2010 to 2014 involving several specific automakers: Acura, Honda, Mercedes-Benz, Subaru and Volvo. Vehicles equipped with active collision safety systems were compared with the same cars without these systems, determined using a mixture of trim level identification and vehicle identification number (VIN) decoding.
IIHS' researchers found that these vehicles, when equipped with optional automated-braking systems, reduced rear-end crashes by roughly 40 percent. With forward collision warning alone, crashes still fell by 23 percent.
Not only are the systems effective at mitigating the crashes themselves, they're reducing injuries, as well. Reducing the chance of injury has benefits beyond car statistics -- it keeps health care costs down, as well.
There's a reason that IIHS now requires vehicles to carry certain safety systems to capture the group's highest accolade, Top Safety Pick+. These systems are clearly working as intended, and as the tech behind them is refined, it'll only improve from here.