Automatic braking is one of the newer safety nets for cars and trucks. As such, The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has come up with a new test to measure its effectiveness--so drivers won’t have to find out the hard way.

The test is pretty straight forward. The vehicle drives directly at a stationary object; once, at 12 miles per hour, and then again at 25 miles per hour. Scores are based on whether or not a warning of collision is indicated, and how greatly speed is reduced. A perfect score consists of a collision warning and a complete stop before hitting the object, when tested at both speeds. 

Vehicles that earned a superior rating-by posting perfect scores-- were the 2015 BMW X5 and 5 Series- both of which have Collision Warning with braking function; the 2015 Hyundai Genesis with Automatic Emergency Braking; and the 2014 Mercedes-Benz E-Class with Pre-Safe Brake. But, it wasn’t only high-dollar imports that tested well. Also earning a Superior rating were four GM cars: the 2014 Buick Regal, Cadillac CTS and XTS, and the Chevrolet Impala. All had warning and auto braking systems that stopped short of impact from 12 miles per hour, and significantly reduced speed from 25 miles per hour.  

An Advanced rating was earned by cars that warned of a collision and fully stopped from 12 miles per hour. But at 25 mph---they only “moderately” slowed down and still had a collision.

For a Basic rating, only a collision warning sounded with no slowing down before impact.

Of course, this is still an advancing technology for automakers. But, it’s encouraging to see strides being made with a testing program that steers progress in the right direction.

And that’s it for this week’s Motor News.