IIHS Finds Front AEB Saves Lives, Rear AEB Reduces Fender Benders

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【Summary】If you’d have to choose one of these systems, front automatic emergency braking is far more important, as it saves lives, but rear automatic emergency braking reduces the chance of a fender bender.

Original Vineeth Joel Patel    Feb 17, 2021 7:45 AM PT
IIHS Finds Front AEB Saves Lives, Rear AEB Reduces Fender Benders

Forward automatic emergency braking is a relatively new, mainstream safety feature, but it's already become a huge deal. The system has saved countless lives and has become a sought-after feature for consumers. While automatic emergency braking has become standard on the majority of new vehicles in the U.S., rear automatic emergency braking isn't as common.

Rear AEB Saves Drivers Money

One would expect rear automatic emergency braking to be just as important as forward automatic emergency braking, but, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), that isn't the case. Forward automatic emergency braking saves lives, while rear automatic emergency braking mostly saves drivers money and the hassle of dealing with a fender bender.

That might sound like rear automatic emergency braking isn't important. That's not the case. Since accidents where a vehicle backs into another happen at a much lower speed than a frontal collision, injuries are far less likely to occur. Your car can still get damaged pretty badly, though. And with cars having sensors and cameras on nearly every corner of the vehicle, even the slightest bump can turn into a pricey repair. That's where rear automatic emergency braking becomes a handy feature to have.

When it comes to reducing the cost of insurance claims, rear automatic emergency braking is the most effective advanced safety feature to have. "We haven't seen that kind of reduction in claims for vehicle and other property damage from any other advanced driver assistance system," said Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI) Senior Vice President Matt Moore.

Not All Features Are Equal

According to data from the HLDI, vehicles equipped with rear automatic emergency braking had 28 percent fewer property damage liability claims and 10 percent fewer collision claims between Subaru vehicles from 2015-2018 and General Motors vehicles from 2014-2015. Since low-speed braking crashes make up a large portion of insurance claims, rear automatic emergency braking is worth spending some extra money for.

With things like rearview cameras coming as standard on all new cars and surround-view cameras and rear parking sensors being available, one might think that rear automatic emergency braking is a waste. The HLDI found that these safety features aren't nearly as effective. These features may be far more common than rear automatic emergency braking, but that doesn't mean they're as helpful.

Modern cars may be more expensive than ever before, but the extra features that they come with make them safer than ever before, too. And in a few instances, like with rear automatic emergency braking, some features could even save you money.

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