We take on automatic braking to see how it protects you

The new technology is highly hyped, but how well does it work?

TAMPA, Fla. -- Last year, 40,200 people died in U.S. car crashes, according to the National Safety Council.

The estimated cost of vehicle deaths, injuries, and property damage in 2016 was more than $432 billion.

Car companies are coming up with new ways to save lives. 

You've probably seen the commercials. It's called automatic braking. It's not quite self-driving technology, but certainly a way to take over where human attention might fail.

“It can detect that they we need to be alert and I'm getting ready to stop the vehicle and slow the vehicle down,” said Montrae Waiters with AAA.

Waiters believes the technology works, but needs to be seen as a tool to help, not rely on completely.  

“Motorists need to be aware of the limitations on this technology. It is a great safety feature, but we want motorists to know that, you still need to be engaged, so you can't be texting, you shouldn't be putting on makeup.”

AAA put automatic braking to the test. A demonstration shows the skills on different brands. Some stop on the dime just before a crash.

Others, meant to just lessen the severity of a collision, slowed down before hitting the test dummy.

Jackie Suchanek is a driver's ed instructor for the Suncoast Safety Council. She doesn't plan to pump the brakes on teaching students the proper ways to stop a car. 

“It's just there, just like your ABS brakes would be or your backup camera where it's an added safety feature. It's not going to completely in 100 percent of the situations keep them from collisions happening.”

It needs to be said again. Many lives, especially teens', are taken on the road.

Will this technology help? Most likely, but ultimately you are responsible for the safety of yourself and others while driving.  

It's expected that 99 percent of new cars will come with automatic braking technology by 2022. AAA recommends you consider buying a car that comes with it, but make sure you get an understanding for its capabilities and limitations.

© 2017 WTSP-TV


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