by Adrian-Liviu Dorofte

The new Mercedes-Benz A-Class: Significant reduction in accident figures thanks to driving assistance systems - Based on real-world accident profiles

Avoid accidents and reduce the consequences of accidents – this is the integrated approach adopted by Mercedes-Benz Accident Research under the heading "Real Life Safety". Mercedes-Benz is pursuing this strategy systematically with the new, radar-based COLLISION PREVENTION ASSIST system which is standard in all models in the new compact class. The company hopes that this will have a similarly positive effect on the incidence of accidents and their severity as other innovative safety features from the brand, such as ESP®, BAS or DISTRONIC.

Unlike other systems in compact-class vehicles already on the market, COLLISION PREVENTION ASSIST is not intended exclusively to minimise minor accident damage in an urban driving context. Instead, this solution aims to provide protection against typical rear-end collisions in hazardous driving situations at speeds above 30 km/h.

Field tests carried out by Mercedes-Benz in Europe, the US, Japan and South Africa over a total distance of more than 4.5 million kilometres since 2005 confirm that the most critical rear-end collision scenarios arise at speeds above 30 km/h. The speed profile of the tests conducted by Mercedes-Benz closely follows the real-world accident data from GIDAS (German In-Depth Accident Study), the largest project to record accident data in Germany.

Mercedes-Benz expects that COLLISION PREVENTION ASSIST will have a significantly positive effect on real-world accidents comparable to that seen following the introduction of ESP® as standard. Test results reinforce this view: tests involving 110 car drivers in the dynamic simulator saw the accident rate fall from 44 to 11 percent in three typical situations thanks to the combination of collision warning and adaptive braking assistance.

Accident statistics confirm the potential of driving assistance systems
Driving assistance systems make an important contribution to road safety. This is the result of analyses conducted by Mercedes-Benz Accident Research and investigations carried out by the insurance industry as well as independent bodies. A number of success stories can already be reported:

- ESP®: following the introduction of ESP® as standard by Mercedes-Benz, the number of driver-related accidents involving the brand's vehicles in Germany fell by 42% (source: evaluation by Mercedes-Benz of the anonymised accident statistics of the Federal Statistical Office). Over 40% of all road traffic fatalities and 20% of those injured on the roads are victims of driver-related accidents.

- Brake Assist (BAS): the accident rate for rear-end collisions involving Mercedes passenger cars fell by 8% following the introduction of BAS as standard (source: evaluation by Mercedes-Benz of the anonymised 50% random sample of the 1998-2003 accident statistics of the Federal Statistical Office).

- Mercedes-Benz passenger cars equipped with DISTRONIC PLUS are involved in 7% fewer accidents and the material damage they suffer in accidents is 14% lower (source: IIHS Insurance Institute for Highway Safety).

- DISTRONIC PLUS and BAS PLUS are capable of reducing the incidence of rear-end collisions by at least 20% and they can reduce the accident severity in 25% of rear-end collisions according to a statistically significant forecast. These figures are based on a study in which the effectiveness of the systems was assessed by retrospectively simulating real-world accident data with known driver behaviours (source: GIDAS German In-Depth Accident Study). Both systems are available for many Mercedes-Benz model series.

- The combination of DISTRONIC PLUS, BAS PLUS and PRE-SAFE® Brake, which is also available for various Mercedes-Benz model series, is accompanied by a significant reduction in frontal collisions. This was shown by an analysis of replacement part orders for the Mercedes-Benz S-Class in the years 2005 to 2008. The analysis identified the difference in order levels for replacement parts for the front section of vehicles with and without DISTRONIC PLUS.

Credits: Daimler AG

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