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As More Automakers Add Automatic Braking, How Will Safety Improve?

Posted on January 14, 2016 to

As drivers, we have all been there, something or someone causing you to have to brake suddenly, from debris unexpectedly flying onto the road to another vehicle pulling out or braking abruptly to a jaywalker. It is one of those situations where if you react even a split second too late, lives, including those of you and your family, can be destroyed.

To help prevent such disasters, automakers have developed automatic braking. According to USA Today, while automatic braking will not prevent all car accidents, it will help reduce the:

  • Number of motor vehicle accidents
  • Amount of crash-related injuries and deaths
  • Cost of vehicle damage

How Do Automatic Braking Systems Work?

Although automatic braking systems are becoming more popular, they are still not a common feature, even amongst new cars. For those vehicles that do feature automatic brakes, generally, they detect situations where the vehicle should stop or, at least, slow down, and if the driver does not brake, the automatic braking system takes over.

Not all automatic braking systems are the same. Some of the systems only recognize vehicles, while others also detect pedestrians. In addition, there are automatic braking systems that only slow down vehicles to lessen the severity of a car or truck accident, while systems will bring a vehicle to a complete stop in an attempt to avoid a wreck altogether.

Keeping the systems tuned correctly will be just as important as the type of system installed in your vehicle when it comes to issues such as:

  • False-positive braking
  • Phantom collision alarms
  • Auto accidents involving vehicles with automatic braking systems

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) reported that in 2015, automatic braking was only standard on 1 percent of vehicles and only optional on 26 percent of cars and trucks.

Virginia is one of the few states in the country which does not provide for strict liability in product liability actions.  If you cannot prove strict liability, then you must prove negligence on the part of the manufacture.  In Virginia to succeed in a products liability action you must prove that the:

  • Product was unreasonably dangerous
  • The product was being used for the intended purpose, without any alteration or modification from its original condition
  • Defect led to your injury or the death of your family member

Further, Virginia holds that a product is unreasonably dangerous if it is defective in assembly or manufacture, unaccompanied by adequate warnings concerning its hazardous properties or unreasonably dangerous in design.