Consumer Reports: Automatic emergency brake systems

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Twenty automakers have just committed to make emergency brake systems standard in the coming years. (WPVI)

Many car makers offer automatic emergency-braking systems on some models or not at all, but that's about to change.

Twenty automakers have just committed to making the life-saving feature standard in the coming years. This new commitment by automakers is really good news for everyone.

And as a result of this move to make automatic emergency braking systems standard, Consumer Reports is even changing its car rating system.

Mike and Linda Hanson were driving for hours on the highway when Mike says he zoned out.

"The next thing that I remember is the car braking, the alarm going off almost simultaneously, Linda yelling my name and I looked and all of a sudden we've got this concrete abutment right dead ahead of us," he said.

The accident was avoided because the collision-prevention system in their 2014 Dodge Durango kicked in.

Consumer Reports tests these advanced safety features that use a laser, radar or camera to anticipate a frontal crash.

Automatic emergency braking applies the brakes as the vehicle approaches an object, without the driver even touching the pedal.

This safety system is already saving lives.

"We would have been at the very least seriously injured, probably killed," says Mike.

In 2016, about 60 percent of all new cars offer similar safety technology, but often as an optional package costing anywhere from $500 to $3,000 dollars extra.

"Manufacturers of nearly all cars have voluntarily agreed to include these systems as standard equipment by the year 2022. Until that time, we will continue to evaluate them as they are introduced," said Jennifer Stockburger from Consumer Reports Auto Testing.

Consumer Reports has changed its car rating system, giving bonus points to vehicles that include this safety technology standard on all its trim lines.

In addition to testing collision-prevention systems, Consumer Reports surveys its subscribers on how well the systems work. The most recent survey of 3,000 people found 36 percent said the system had saved them from an accident.

To view a list of cars with advanced safety features, CLICK HERE.

For more information on the automatic emergency braking standard, visit the Consumer Reports website.

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