A study of accident research data conducted by Mercedes-Benz finds 20% fewer rear-end collisions for vehicles equipped with its Distronic Plus and Brake Assist Plus technologies.

“With the help of these sophisticated radar-based technologies, an average of one-fifth of all rear-end collisions could be prevented in Germany, alone,” Mercedes says in a statement. “And on motorways, rear-end collisions could be reduced even further – by an average of 36%.

“In a further one-quarter of all collisions, the systems could contribute to a significant reduction of the severity of the accident.”

The auto maker says the evaluation of the safety potential offered by the technology is based on the reconstruction of more than 800 rear-end collisions.

Distronic Plus and Brake Assist Plus warn drivers when they are maintaining too little distance from the vehicle traveling in front and provide support in the event of emergency braking.

Distronic keeps a vehicle at a previously chosen distance from the vehicle in front and, if necessary brakes a vehicle to a complete standstill, depending on the situation.

If the distance to the preceding vehicle closes too rapidly, the system warns the driver and calculates the required brake pressure, which is then provided instantaneously by Brake Assist Plus as soon as the brake pedal is depressed.

Should the driver disregard the warning, the Pre-Safe Brake system performs an emergency partial-braking maneuver, significantly reducing the severity of the impact.

Mercedes engineers developed a procedure that for the first time makes possible a predictive calculation of the usefulness of new safety technologies. The specialists have taken into account both official statistics and the analysis of the approximate 16,000 traffic accidents that have so far been studied within the framework of the German In-Depth Accident Study.

To calculate the safety benefits provided by Distronic Plus and Brake Assist Plus, Mercedes specialists make use of relevant data from individual accidents, such as speed, distance to the other vehicle and the driver’s braking behavior.

With this data, together with the governing algorithms of the systems, the individual speed reduction is calculated.

Mercedes-Benz has offered these radar-based assistance technologies on the S-Class sedan since 2005 and the CL-Class coupe since 2006.

About 40% of German S-Class buyers equip them with the safety features, as do more than 80% of CL-Class buyers.

In Germany there are more than 50,000 severe rear-end collisions every year, causing death or serious injuries to about 5,700 people. Of all the accidents involving personal injury, one in six is a rear-end collision.

In the U.S., this accident type makes up roughly 30% of all serious traffic accidents.