ABE says auto-braking cars safer, cheaper to insure

Weekly whiplash news review: 7 days ended 31 oct 2012:

If you’re on the search for excuses to get a new car equipped with auto-braking technology, then a new study released this week is just what you’re looking for!

According to the Association of British Insurers, it will be cheaper to insure a vehicle fitted with Autonomous Emergency Braking technology, thanks to its ability to reduce the number of road traffic accidents. Rear-end shunts would particularly be reduced by auto-braking tech, and with such collisions being a leading cause of whiplash injury, this could make a serious dent in the number of accident claims for neck injury currently draining the coffers of insures in the UK.

The ABI confirmed recently that insurers will indeed offer cheaper policies for any vehicle fitted with the auto-braking systems. This is good news for the owners of many new cars, and manufacturers such as Volvo, Ford, and Volkswagen have integrated the new tech in the form of sensors on the front of many of their vehicle models that is designed to detect objects ahead of the car quicker than a human driver, triggering the brakes in order to avert what could otherwise be an unavoidable collision – and even if there’s no way to avoid such a collision, the auto-braking system can reduce the likelihood that the accident will be a severe one.

The decision was made after research centre Thatcham conducted a detailed study into the role auto-braking systems would have in reducing accident rates in the UK.  The Berkshire-based researchers pointed to a US-based study that discovered that Volvo owners that had auto-braking technology fitted to their vehicles made 25 per cent fewer car accident claims than those drivers that owned similar cars, and a UK-based survey also revealed that rear end shunts fell by 28 per cent after a six month auto-braking pilot programme as well.

And you don’t even have to have the system fitted to your vehicle to benefit, either, according to insurer estimates. In the long run, with enough drivers opting for cars with auto-braking tech integrated, the number of whiplash claims could plummet by a wide margin, which means that even cheapskates that can’t be bothered to purchase a modern vehicle will see their premiums dropping as well.

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