If all vehicles had been equipped with autobrake, there would have been at least 700,000 fewer police-reported rear-end crashes in 2013, according to research by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).
The study used U.S. police-reported crash data and found that vehicles equipped with front crash prevention were much less likely to rear-end other vehicles.
Systems with automatic braking reduce rear-end crashes by about 40 percent on average, while forward collision warning alone cuts them by 23 percent, the study found. The autobrake systems also greatly reduce injury crashes.
If all vehicles had been equipped with autobrake that worked as well as the systems studied, there would have been at least 700,000 fewer police-reported rear-end crashes in 2013. That number represents 13 percent of police-reported crashes overall.
“The success of front crash prevention represents a big step toward safer roads,” said David Zuby, IIHS chief research officer. “As this technology becomes more widespread, we can expect to see noticeably fewer rear-end crashes. The same goes for the whiplash injuries that often result from these crashes and can cause a lot of pain and lost productivity.”
Front crash prevention is steadily becoming more prevalent, but in most cases it is offered as optional equipment. That may soon change, however. In September, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and IIHS announced an agreement in principle with automakers to make autobrake standard on all models.