Automatic braking systems use the latest technology to slow down and stop your vehicle before a car accident. These systems combine sensors and brake controls to reduce the speed of a vehicle and avert a high-speed collision. Although automated braking systems are an additional safety feature, any electronic safeguard can malfunction. If your automatic braking system gets you into a car accident, you may be able to sue a carmaker.

Over the last two years, more and more drivers complained about automatic braking systems being activated suddenly when there is no hazard.

Automatic braking systems have been available since the early 2000s on certain vehicle models. It is known as automated emergency braking (AEB). We are likely to see an extension of this feature in the future. There are two types of system. Some automatic braking mechanisms prevent collisions altogether. However, most of them reduce the speed of a car before a crash rather than stopping it altogether. This can alleviate the seriousness of injuries and save lives.

Certain carmakers have made crash avoidance systems like automatic braking systems available on models for more than a decade. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety lists cars equipped with crash avoidance systems. The first crash avoidance systems were fitted between 2002 and 2003 by companies like Honda and Mercedes-Benz. Most manufacturers make at least one car with an automatic braking system.

In 2016, twenty carmakers that control 99 percent of the U.S. market agreed to make AEB a standard feature across almost all models by 2022, reported Consumer Reports.

When an automatic braking system fails and causes a wreck, you should contact a Maryland personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. These cases can be tricky to take on alone.

How Do Automatic Braking Systems Work?

Each carmaker has its own automatic braking system technology. However, all of the systems rely on sensor input. A wide variety of systems are found in cars. Some of them use radar, others lasers. Some features even use video data.

Other companies are developing sophisticated systems that use GPS data. If a vehicle has access to an accurate, real-time global positioning system, it can factor in stop signs and traffic signals and activate brakes if a driver fails to stop at an intersection.

This sensor input determines if there are any hazards in the path of the vehicle. When the sensors pick up an object ahead, the system works out if the speed of the vehicle is greater than the speed of the object it is heading toward. If the system notes a significant speed differential, a crash is likely. The system activates the vehicle’s brakes with no input from the driver to slow the car down.

Automatic braking systems are particularly useful in reducing rear-end accidents, the most common causes of wrecks on the road. If a driver falls asleep or is distracted, the automatic braking system can slow the car down, avoiding a crash or mitigating its impact.

Are Other Systems Linked to Automatic Braking?

Automatic braking may link to other systems on some cars. Automatic brakes may be part of wider pre-crash avoidance systems. If you are about to be involved in a car accident on the Baltimore Beltway in a car with AEB, the system may warn you of an impending collision an even tighten your seatbelt to reduce injuries at the time of the impact.

Many adaptive cruise systems use automatic brakes. They can reduce the car’s speed by downshifting, cutting the throttle, and activating the brakes.

Do Automatic Braking Systems Always Work?

In 2018, a team from Car and Driver carried out rigorous tests on four cars with automatic braking systems.

The test highlighted flaws in the systems. For instance, the Toyota Camry’s AEB system may not work when the car is driven on a hill. It may fail to spot vehicles with high ground clearance or cars with low rear ends. Even a wiper blade blocking the camera could disable the system. Automatic braking can be ineffective in low visibility or when another car pulls out suddenly in front of you.

The tests exposed the “infallibility myth” that computerized systems are failsafe. Driving the same car toward the same target produced different results in the tests.

On occasions, a car stopped perfectly. However, the vehicle’s brakes were applied too late at other times. The article concluded that today’s systems are impressive and will improve but an AEB system is not a substitute for a good driver.

What To Do When Your Automatic Braking System Gets You Into a Car Accident

Automatic braking systems are developing fast. Malfunctions of the systems could cause accidents. There is also a concern that relying on an AEB system creates a false sense of security. In a handful of cases, drivers of so-called “self-driving cars” have been killed or injured when automated braking systems failed to operate.

One of the first self-driving car accidents in Williston, Florida in 2016 highlighted the potential hazards of autonomous vehicles. A man driving a Tesla Model T crashed into the side of a semi-trailer truck. The driver was watching a movie at the time of the accident. The automatic braking system appears to have failed to pick up on the white side of the truck due to the sun’s glare. The Tesla driver, who was killed in the crash, ignored warnings, according to reports.

Another Tesla driver was killed in Florida this year when his car crashed into a semi. The truck was making a turn when the Model 3 crashed into the side of the truck. It passed under the trailer, ripping the top off the Tesla. The National Transportation Safety Board is also investigating a January 2018 crash in which a Tesla Model S hit a parked fire truck while Autopilot was engaged.

If you have been injured when AEB failed or suddenly kicked in, you should talk to a lawyer about a product liability lawsuit against a manufacturer.

Automatic Braking Systems are Linked to More Crashes and Lawsuits

Inevitably, as more vehicles gain automatic braking systems, they will become increasingly mass-produced and more problems will develop.

A recent review of complaints of AEB systems filed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reveals dozens of problems with newer AEB. Consumers cited many issues across vehicle makes and models.

More than a dozen complaints were linked to the 2018 Volkswagen Atlas. Drivers warned of sudden and unexpected braking in each complaint. The sudden and unexpected loss of power is a major concern.  Drivers warned of potential crashes, especially when the braking system activates while they are attempting to cross several lanes of traffic.