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Accident prevention potential of collision warning systems and emergency braking systems

Many road accidents are caused because drivers brake too indecisively or too late. Extreme situations often ask too much of drivers, who are unaware of the physical consequences of the reduction in kinetic energy caused by the vehicle’s deceleration. Modern driver assistance systems such as collision warning systems and emergency braking systems are demonstrably effective in assisting drivers and should therefore, in the view of the UDV (German Insurers Accident Research), be fitted in as many vehicles as possible as quickly as possible.

“Serious rear-end collisions, in particular, can be avoided,” said Siegfried Brockmann, chief executive of Berlin-based UDV, during testing of these systems in Darmstadt. The accident researchers have calculated that 12% of all serious car accidents could potentially be prevented by means of automatic emergency braking systems.

That is after taking into account a considerable reduction (UDV factor) to allow for drivers’ inappropriate reactions. Otherwise, the potential impact would theoretically be 17.8%. It means that collision warning systems and emergency braking systems have the highest accident prevention potential of all driver assistance systems apart from the ESC (electronic stability control) systems that will be compulsory in all new vehicles throughout Europe from 2011. That is why the UDV believes it is desirable to introduce these new driver assistance systems quickly in all vehicle categories.