If you’re in the market for a new car, you may want to consider one that comes with rear automatic emergency braking (AEB) in addition to the more common front AEB. A new analysis finds that rear AEB could cut collision claims and property damage liability by 10% and 28%, respectively.
“We haven’t seen that kind of reduction in claims for vehicle and other property damage from any other advanced driver assistance system,” said a spokesperson for the Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI), which performed the analysis.
Both front AEB and rear AEB use cameras, sensors and radar to detect obstacles and automatically apply the brakes in order to avoid or reduce the severity of collisions.
Rear AEB mostly comes into play in back-up accidents, which generally happen at lower speeds than front-facing collisions. Because these crashes are less dangerous overall, they are more likely to involve mere property damage than injuries or fatalities.
The HLDI found the reductions in insurance claim activity by comparing insurance data on 2015-2018 Subaru vehicles, some of which had rear AEB and some of which did not. The group also looked at an earlier analysis of insurance data involving 2014-2015 GM vehicles. Those vehicles with rear AEB had substantially lower insurance claims.
Are back-up crashes common?
Back-up crashes may generally take place at lower speeds, but they still represent a significant portion of insurance claims. According to a separate analysis by the HLDI, about 17% of all collision claims between 2010 and 2017 involved rear damage of less than $2,000. In total, those crashes cost over $8 billion.
The HLDI found that two other features focused on preventing back-up crashes were much less effective than rear AEB. Those were rear cameras and parking sensors.
According to data from seven manufacturers, rear cameras cut the frequency of property damage liability claims by about 5% but increased the frequency of collision claims overall, albeit slightly. Parking sensors reduced property damage claim frequency by 5% and collision claim frequency by about 1%. Both of these features are more common than rear AEB.
Besides front and rear AEB, forward collision warning is the only stand-alone driving assistance feature that HLDI found to reduce claim frequency by double-digit percentages.
As we mentioned, rear AEB is not widely standard, but it makes a big difference in back-up collisions. If you’re shopping for a safer vehicle, consider adding this feature to your “must have” list.