Crash Prevention Systems: Worth the Money?

Image: IIHS

Evaluating automated emergency braking.

Automotive safety technology is improving at a rapid pace with new features like crash prevention systems appearing with each new model introduction. Many of those new features are autonomous and are only available on more expensive models. You might be wondering if they’re worth the price. A recent study says at least one new feature is absolutely worth the cost.

Crash Prevention

Ford testing its collision prevention system, Credit: Ford

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), automated emergency braking reduced rear end crashes by 40 percent. Even simple forward collision warning cuts down on these types of accidents by 23 percent. Fewer crashes mean fewer trips to the repair shop and fewer injuries.

If every car on the road had automated emergency braking, they estimated there would have been 700,000 fewer police-reported rear-end crashes. That’s 13 percent of all crashes reported to the police. Not only do these systems save individuals money, they keep police officers free for other tasks.

Automated emergency braking systems can’t always stop a crash, but even when an accident happens, they help reduce injuries. Since they lower the impact speed, the severity of injuries suffered by occupants is lessened as is the damage to the vehicles involved.

There’s no law requiring these systems in every car, but the evidence supports getting them into as many models as possible. In the meantime, if you think all that fancy automated technology isn’t worth the extra cost, think again.

Nicole Wakelin contributes to The Boston Globe, CarGurus, BestRide, and Boldride, and she hosts her own blog,, where... More about Nicole Wakelin