Research out today has shown that cars using detection technology to respond to an imminent collision could be as revolutionary as when seat belts were first made compulsory.
The study by What Car? suggests that if this technology was made standard in all cars by 2015, it could prevent 17,000 serious accidents over the next 10 years.
Autonomous emergency braking (AEB) uses a combination of laser and radar to detect an obstacle in front of the car and then automatically applies the brakes. If the driver fails to respond, the system will bring the car to a complete halt.
Alex Newby, What Car?'s consumer editor, said: "When seatbelts became compulsory for front-seat occupants in 1983, the number of motorists killed or seriously injured fell by almost 50 per cent overnight.
"AEB could have a similar effect, making it the most important safety innovation in more than 30 years. This type of active safety aims, primarily, to avoid the crash in the first place, rather than minimise the after-effects.
"There are several active safety systems that experts recommend in particular, but AEB is the only one that they unanimously agree we should all be demanding on our next car."
The research has shown that as well as serious injuries dropping by 17,000 by 2025, this technology could also cut whiplash claims that currently stands at 550,000 per year.
by: Danielle Bagnall