Automatic emergency brake systems are among the most exciting new vehicle safety technologies to arise in recent years, and a study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety indicates that they might work even better than expected. Minnesota drivers are likely to encounter more such systems on the road as all of the major automakers have pledged to include standard automatic emergency braking in mainstream vehicle models by the year 2022. A variety of General Motors vehicles from the 2013 to 2015 model years were examined in the IIHS study.

More specifically, the study looked at crossovers, SUVs, small sedans and large sedans manufactured by Cadillac, Buick or Chevrolet. Because the automatic braking systems were optional on these 2013 to 2015 model year vehicles, researchers were assisted by GM, which gave IIHS the VIN numbers of vehicles equipped with the systems. GM has two levels of alert or braking technology. The first is called Forward Collision Alert. It warns the driver if the vehicle is about to hit something but does not apply the brakes.

The second technology is called Front Automatic Braking. This system gives the driver a warning and then automatically applies the brakes to prevent or lessen the severity of a car accident. The IIHS said that vehicles equipped with both safety technologies were involved in 43 percent fewer front-to-rear crashes of all kinds, 64 percent fewer rear-end crashes that caused injuries and 68 percent fewer rear-end crashes that caused third-party injuries.

People who are hurt in car accidents might be entitled to recover for damages including lost wages, medical expenses or pain and suffering. A lawyer with experience in personal injury law may be able to help injured parties by gathering evidence and preparing a case for trial. A lawyer might be able to negotiate a settlement for money damages with at-fault parties and their insurers.