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www.wvno.com - New technology is making it safer to get behind the wheel by braking your car for you, so here's a look at which vehicles are best for avoiding crashes.

   
 
 
Car Models Which Rank Best For Auto-Braking Technology

Story By: Larry Stine

 

 

 
 
 
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New technology is making it safer to get behind the wheel by braking your car for you. Here's a look at which vehicles are best for avoiding crashes. Every motorist's nightmare, a head-on or rear-end collision. Thousands of injuries and deaths each year, but rapidly-evolving technology can and has reduced those numbers significantly.

"We definitely are preventing crashes," says David Zuby of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. "Cars that have these systems have 14 percent fewer crashes with other vehicles than cars that don't have the systems." Crash avoidance systems offer emergency automatic braking capability among other advances safety features. The proportion of car models with the technology has doubled in the past two years, as carmakers race for a competitive advantage with safety-minded drivers. About 20 percent of models now carry these auto-brake features.

New ratings from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety show eight vehicles earned the highest marks for front crash prevention, including two BMW models, four General Motors cars, Cadillacs, the Buick Regal and the Chevrolet Impala, along with Mercedes Benz and Hyundai models. Thirteen other tested cars earned "advanced" ratings. The technology is available mostly as options on large and midsize models, including SUV's.

"They predominantly are available in luxury brands, but we are starting to see them on less expensive vehicles, like Dodges, Jeeps, Buicks, Chevrolets, Toyotas," says Zuby. Here's how it works. Sensors and cameras, mounted in the front, can detect other cars, pedestrians, animals, even large debris in front of you. The cars automatically brake when it comes too close. Federal officials have encouraged states to mandate collision avoidance systems in all cars and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is still considering whether to require automatic braking on every vehicle. Safety advocates say hurry up.

"We need the agency to expedite making it mandatory so we can get it in more vehicles faster," says Henry Jasny of Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety. "In terms of safety, the sooner we get this into more vehicles, the safer it will be for the public." The bottom line, these widely-varying, largely unregulated safety systems are there, if you want them, and can afford them. "The consumer should at least have a baseline of safety from this technology, that each vehicle had this technology that will work the way it's supposed to, and that's been government-tested and government-approved," Jasny says.

   
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