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Rear-end Crashes Go Way Down When Cars Can Brake Themselves

Originally published by TheVerge.com.

January 28th, 2016

In what may not come as a surprise, vehicles with automatic braking systems are involved in rear-end crashes (that is, accidents in which a vehicle hits a car directly in front of them) at lower rates than vehicles not equipped with the systems, says the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, or IIHS.

The research focused on Forward Collision Warning (FCW) and Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB), as well as the suite of systems made by Volvo called City Safety, which includes advanced versions of those two technologies. The research examined vehicles from a number of different automakers including Acura, Honda, Subaru and Volvo, which were equipped with FCW and AEB, as well as vehicles that included just FCW or no crash prevention tech at all.

Volvo City Safety

According to the IIHS research, equipping vehicles with both warning and autobraking systems reduced the rate of rear-end crashes by 39 percent and rear end crashes with injuries by 42 percent. That’s an overall reduction in crashes by 12 percent and a reduction in injury crashes by 15 percent.


The report says that Volvo’s City Safety technology, which reduces accidents and injuries by an even higher rate, “appears to be highly effective at reducing rear-end crashes and associated injuries reported to police, even on roadways with speed limits higher than the system’s operating range.” IIHS estimates that, if every vehicle was equipped with low-speed automatic braking technology similar to Volvo’s, around 750,000 police-reported rear-end crashes and 350,000 corresponding injuries could have been avoided in 2013 alone.

Also studied was the effectiveness of collision warning systems without autobraking — that is, systems where the driver is alerted with audible and visual warnings that a crash is imminent. Though they did deliver a modest reduction in rear-end accidents, there was not a statistically significant reduction in injuries from crashes. This may be because while the collision warning systems may be effective in reducing very low-speed accidents, drivers are unable to react in time to avoid higher-speed crashes.

With autobraking systems, even if an accident is unavoidable, having the car slow itself as much as possible before impact can deliver significant reductions in injuries and severity even if an accident occurs. The study also compared Volvos with City Safety to other Volvos that didn’t have the technology equipped in order to eliminate a possibility of a “Volvo buyer’s effect.” There was no indication that the findings were due to Volvo owners simply being safer drivers.

Though systems like City Safety don’t promise to always avoid accidents at higher speeds, the car doesn’t turn off collision warnings and autobrake tech when the vehicle is going faster: it can still slow down itself down and reduce the severity of a crash, or avoid one entirely if the vehicle in front is merely going slower, rather than stopped. “Although City Safety was least effective at speed limits of 50 mph or greater,” says the report, “it still reduced rear-end striking crashes significantly at these speed limits.”


“The results reinforce our Vision 2020 which states no one should be killed or seriously injured in a new Volvo by the year 2020, and it underscores having City Safety be standard on all of our vehicles in order to achieve that goal,” says Volvo spokesman Jim Nichols. “We’re very happy with the results, they’re in line with our expectations, and we’ll continue to improve the technology over the next generations of cars.”

What’s it all mean? Autobraking systems stop accidents by stopping cars. For 2016, 40 percent of US vehicle models are offering collision warning systems with automatic braking as optional equipment, with ten automakers pledging to make automatic braking standard equipment in all their vehicles eventually.

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, the US government agency that regulates vehicle safety, already acknowledges and encourages the implementation of these systems. And, like airbags and seat belts and anti-lock brakes, these collision mitigation technologies could eventually become required equipment.

UAA and Continental Launch New Automotive Technology Apprenticeship Program

Kirstin Olmstead, CTC Communications Coordinator

January 25th, 2016

With debt a looming concern for many college students today, the idea of going to school while earning a paycheck in one’s field may sound too good to be true. The UAA Community & Technical College (CTC) is helping students do just that.

CTC and Continental Auto Group finalized an agreement this month to offer registered apprenticeships for automotive technicians. The agreement marks the college’s first with local industry as part of its plan to embed apprenticeships within its academic and technical programs.

“We are excited about this partnership with Continental,” said Bonnie Nygard, interim dean of the Community & Technical College. “CTC is committed to providing students with quality training to prepare them for workforce entry. An apprenticeship gives students the advantage of classroom instruction and on-the-job training while earning a paycheck.”

Registered apprenticeships are an earn-while-you-learn model. Students take college classes and pay tuition, but they are employees of the sponsoring apprenticeship organization, which means they are compensated while they receive hands-on training.

“We struggle to find automotive technicians,” said Rich Swenson, Fixed Operations Director for Continental Auto Group. “So, it was really eye-opening to find out that we could partner with UAA to grow our own employees and develop a pipeline to find qualified applicants.”

In addition to receiving college credit, students also earn national industry certification. A college’s participation in an apprenticeship program means its programs meet national standards for registration with the U.S. Department of Labor.

“Registered apprenticeships benefit Alaska’s employers by training workers to industry specifications, increasing workforce productivity, enhancing retention and developing future leadership,” said John Hakala, state director of the Labor Department’s Office of Apprenticeship. “Apprentices benefit by learning on the job with current technology and equipment, and earn portable credentials and college credits.”

CTC is the only college in Alaska to have joined the Registered Apprenticeships College Consortium or RACC. Participation in RACC signifies high standards of accountability and a commitment to curriculum best practices.

RACC members must have their programs evaluated by a third party organization to determine the college credit value of the apprenticeship completion certificate. All RACC college members must be degree-granting institutions that are accredited by a regional institutional accrediting agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.

Registered apprenticeships have strong support at both the federal and state level and have been endorsed by President Barack Obama and Alaska Gov. Bill Walker.

For more information about CTC’s apprenticeship programs, contact Jeff Selvey at (907) 786-7618 or jselvey@uaa.alaska.edu. Visit the Labor Department’s apprenticeship website at http://www.dol.gov/apprenticeship.

Continental Takes the Plunge for Special Olympics

January 11th, 2016

Many of Continental team members have a lot of fun donating their time and energy to many local charitable organizations and community causes.

On December 19th, seven brave team members participated in the annual Polar Plunge at Goose Lake and raised over $2000 that will benefit Special Olympics of Alaska. Together we do great things!

Continental Auto Group Polar Plunge 2015

Jumpers from left to right are: Morgan Wright-Continental Tire & Auto; Ashley Soennichsen-Accounting; Breanna Osenga-Honda Service; Connie Willard-Accounting; Brye Warner-Subaru Service; Kim Schlimgen-Customer Relations; and Linda Gerwin-Accounting.

Share the Love 2015

Written by: Evelyn Stice

November 18th, 2015

A week from today, most of us will gather around tables laden with mashed potatoes and gravy, candied yams, green bean casserole, stuffing, pumpkin pie, and that glorious, gorgeous, crispy-skinned turkey. And also, for reasons no one really understands, a can-shaped mass of cranberry sauce on a small plate, sliced into dark red gelatinous disks. We will eat ourselves into a stupor with family and friends, and likely at some point set our forks down and express thankfulness for the bounty in our lives, bounty that may even include a brand new Subaru in the driveway.

Most of us really are fortunate. Life isn’t perfect, but when we have the warmth of family and friends, a place we call home, and a fridge full of leftovers, we do indeed have much for which to be thankful. And it’s a great time to share that good fortune with others. Subaru knows this, so starting today and going through January 2, 2016, customers buying or leasing a new Subaru from Continental Subaru can select one of six participating charities to receive a $250 donation, courtesy of Continental Subaru and Subaru of America’s 2015 Share the Love program.

What can $250 do? For any of the six charities listed below, quite a bit. But of course, it’s when all the donations are lumped together that the power of good really makes an impact. In March 2014, Subaru of America and Continental Subaru presented a total of $48,091 to the 2014 Share the Love recipients, the Eva Foundation and the Nordic Skiing Association of Anchorage. This year, the selected charities—two of them hometown charities selected by Continental Subaru, the rest with Alaskan chapters that will be helped by your purchases—are:

  • Meals On Wheels. The Meals On Wheels Association of America provides the elderly with nutritious meals, friendly visits, and safety checks, enabling many to live independently. Locally, MOWAA benefits places like Ninilchik Senior Center, enabling them to continue providing crucial services to area seniors.
  • Make-A-Wish. You can help the Make-A-Wish foundation grant life-changing wishes for critically ill children in your area and nationally. Its Washington-Alaska chapter grants an average of 300 wishes a year to kids with life-threatening medical conditions.
  • National Park Foundation. Alaska is home to more than 20 stunning national parks. Unfortunately, while interest in the parks is increasing, budget constraints are making it difficult for park staff to continue to offer the programs that inspire generations of national park enthusiasts. The donation you enable can help provide funding for the National Park Foundation to continue those programs throughout the country.
  • ASPCA. If you’ve got a soft spot for animals, your $250 could go to the ASPCA, which has been a leading advocate for animals for nearly 150 years, rescuing pets from abuse, introducing more humane legislation, and supporting shelter communities.
  • Clare House. Between homelessness and independent living, there is Clare House, one of the local charities in this year’s program. Clare House provides temporary emergency 24-hour shelter to women with children and expectant mothers, along with many services that help bridge the gap to independent living, a crucial step in breaking the cycle of poverty.
  • Charlie Elder House. The other local charity in the 2015 Share the Love program, Charlie Elder House provides housing and other services to help homeless teenage boys transition to independent living as productive, happy adults contributing to society. At the house, the boys focus on schoolwork and learn skills such as cooking, doing laundry, and conducting job searches, skills that provide a foundation for adult life.

Clare HouseMost of us have so much to be thankful for this holiday season. If to the usual friends, family, food, home, and health we can add “a new Subaru,” isn’t it great that we can at the same time help those who aren’t quite as fortunate? Any time between now and January 2, come in to Continental Subaru, buy or lease a new Subaru, and $250 will be donated in your behalf to one of the above charities of your choice. Can’t choose? That’s understandable; they’re all worthy causes. In that case, Continental Subaru would be happy to select a charity for you.

Happy holidays, everyone. May 2016 bring you even greater fortune.