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Technology might assist in rear-end collisions

Anyone who has driven in the stop-and-go traffic that is common on Queens roadways is aware of the dangers posed by texting and driving. A distracted driver focusing on a cellphone will probably not be paying attention to traffic conditions and is likely to crash into the rear of another vehicle that has slowed or stopped. There is, however, technology available that could prevent such a crash and the serious injury it can cause.

Some front crash prevention systems automatically apply the brakes when a vehicle is at risk of getting into a rear-end crash. The systems usually warn the driver of the approaching danger, but if the driver fails to slow down or apply the brakes, the computerized system takes over and applies the brakes to prevent a car collision. The systems have been available as optional equipment on some makes of cars, but car manufacturers and the federal government have reached an agreement to make the systems standard equipment.

The success of automatic braking systems in preventing serious injury in an auto accident appears to be documented by an analysis of police-reported rear-end car collision reviewed by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Researchers concluded that the use of automatic brakingsystems could have cut the number of rear-end collisions by about 40 percent. Even when the systems do not prevent a car collision, they can reduce the severity of the impact to avoid such serious consequences as brain injury or death.

Automatic braking systems and adaptive cruise control appear to be steps toward reducing the risks posed by the distracted driver, but a negligent driver continues to pose a threat to other drivers, passengers and pedestrians. Those who have been injured in car accidents caused by another motorist may wish to pursue recourse for their losses with the assistance of an attorney.

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