NEW YORK – A panel of safety experts, including representatives of the National Highway Traffic Safety Admin. and Department of Transportation, awards Volvo Car a “Traffic Safety Achievement Award” at the World Traffic Safety Symposium held in conjunction with the auto show here.

The experts cite Volvo’s City Safety low-speed collision avoidance technology for the award.

“City Safety is yet another example of Volvo’s aim to utilize real world traffic situations to develop solutions to prevent accidents,” says Jonas Ekmark, head of preventive safety at the Volvo Car Safety Center in Gothenburg, Sweden.

City Safety impressed the experts for its ability to prevent or lessen the severity of collisions at low speeds, thus reducing the risk of personal injuries and damage to vehicles.

About 75% of all collisions occur at less than 18 mph (30 km/h). In 50% of cases, the driver does not even brake before the collision, usually due to insufficient concentration.

If the vehicle in front suddenly brakes and City Safety determines a collision is imminent, the brakes are prepared for action. If the driver does not take action, the car is braked automatically.

At speeds less than 9 mph (15 km/h), City Safety can avoid accidents entirely. At speeds of 10-18 mph (17-30 km/h), the system applies brake force to reduce vehicle speed and help temper occupant injuries and vehicle damage.

“With City Safety, we hope to eliminate whiplash injuries to both vehicles involved in typical city driving, low-speed accidents, along with eliminating vehicle body damages,” Ekmark says.

“Even with just reducing vehicle speed, this system will help to lessen the consequences of low-speed impacts.”

Volvo is negotiating with several insurance companies in Europe that are considering a premium discount of up to 30% for cars equipped with City Safety.

The system will be standard on the new Volvo XC60 unveiled in Geneva in March.