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Study reveals the safety benefits of automatic rear brakes

Car makers have vowed to equip most of the vehicles sold in South Carolina and around the country with automatic braking technology by 2022, but these systems are designed to prevent front-end collisions only. Technology that applies a vehicle's brakes automatically during reversing maneuvers is far less common, but a recent study from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety indicates that such systems could reduce rear accidents by 62 percent.

The nonprofit road safety organization tested the rear automatic braking systems of six popular 2017 sedans, wagons and SUVs, and they came to their conclusions after performing a number of rigorous car-to-car and car-to-pole tests. While only two of the vehicles tested by the IIHS earned the group's superior rating, all of the systems were found to significantly reduce both speeds and collisions. This kind of technology is currently only offered as an option on about 5 percent of the passenger vehicles sold in the United States.

The IIHS also discovered that rear automatic braking systems are even more effective when they are combined with rear cameras and sensors. This kind of system could reduce rear accidents by 78 percent according to the advocacy group. Backup cameras will become mandated federal safety equipment in May, but lawmakers presently have no plans to require car makers to install automatic rear braking technology in their vehicles.

While rear collisions usually occur at low speeds, they can cause catastrophic injuries to pedestrians. Drivers who strike pedestrians often point the finger of blame at their victims, but this may be difficult to do when individuals have been struck while walking on a sidewalk. In such situations, experienced personal injury attorneys may explain to car accident victims that the legal principle of res ipsa loquitur might apply. This means that negligence is presumed and it is up to defendants to prove that they did not act recklessly.

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