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Automatic rear brakes could significantly reduce accidents

A recent study reveals that rear automatic braking systems can prevent accidents when backing up, but only about 5 percent of the vehicles sold in Louisiana and around the country feature the technology. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety tested the effectiveness of the rear automatic braking systems fitted to six 2017 model year vehicles using a series of car-to-pole and car-to-car tests, and they found that this technology can reduce rear crashes by as much as 62 percent.

The IIHS study also suggests that automatic brakes work even better when they are part of an integrated safety system including sensors and rear cameras. This combination prevented rear crashes 78 percent of the time during the IIHS tests. Rear cameras will become federally required safety equipment in May, but there are currently no plans to extend this mandate to include automatic braking systems.

While the Subaru Outback wagon and Cadillac XT5 SUV were the only two vehicles tested by the IIHS to earn superior ratings, the automatic rear braking systems fitted to the Infiniti QX60SUV, BMW 5 Series sedan, Toyota Prius hatchback and Jeep Cherokee SUV were praised by the nonprofit group for substantially reducing vehicle speeds and avoiding collisions.

Rear accidents usually occur at low speeds and rarely cause serious injuries, but they can be deadly when children are struck by vehicles reversing out of driveways. When litigating cases involving this kind of car accident, experienced personal injury attorneys may have the vehicles involved inspected to ensure that their safety systems were functioning properly and had not been switched off. Attorneys might also argue that the principle of res ipsa loquitur should be applied in cases where pedestrians have been struck by vehicles while walking on a sidewalk; this may shift the burden of proof from the plaintiff to the defendant.

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