The IIHS has just completed a new study on automatic rear braking systems and found them to be very effective in reducing minor accidents and reducing collision / damage claims. A previous study conducted by IIHS’s Highway Loss Data Institute from 2017 (using data from GM vehicles from 2014-15) found growing evidence of the utility of automatic rear braking. Now the IIHS has large amounts of data from 2015-18 Subaru vehicles equipped with automatic rear braking systems, and the agency calls it “the standout feature in HLDI’s annual compilation of its research into the impact of collision avoidance technologies. “.
Those are intoxicating words, given the sheer number of driver assistance systems available on new cars today. Automatic rear emergency braking systems work in the same way as front collision avoidance systems. Vehicles use sensors or radar to detect objects and then automatically brake to avoid hitting the object if a driver gets too close. The data shows that vehicles equipped with automatic rear braking have “28% fewer property damage claims and 10% fewer damage claims.”
“We have not seen such a decrease in vehicle and property damage claims by any other advanced driver assistance system,” said Matt Moore, Senior Vice President of HLDI.
People who retreat into things account for a significant portion of all insurance claims. The IIHS says rear damage claims less than $ 2,000 (read: low speed incidents that could prevent automatic rear braking) make up 17% of all collision claims. Financially, the IIHS estimates the total damage from these types of accidents in the 2010-17 period to more than $ 8 billion. Unlike forward automatic emergency braking, there are fewer instances where automatic rear braking can reduce damage claims. This is of course due to the speed and the circumstances under which these collisions occur. You are much more likely to hit a pedestrian moving forward at high speed than backing slowly. Still, there’s a good chance the rear system could come in handy if one day you reverse out of a parking lot where people are walking around.
The IIHS analyzed the effectiveness of rear cameras and rear parking sensors in comparison to automatic braking, but found that both were significantly less effective in reducing collision claims. Rear cameras and rear parking sensors both reduced damage claims by 5% respectively. That’s a long way from the 28% effectiveness of automatic rear braking, but the data does show that they are doing a good job of reducing the number of accidents.
Automatic rear braking is still not as widely available as automatic front braking, but it is slowly spreading across the automotive industry. With repeated studies showing how effective it is, chances are we will see more and more vehicles making it a standard safety feature.