Rear AEB ‘Standout Feature’ In Reducing Liability, Collision Claims

Man driving

A safety feature in some cars that automatically stops the vehicles from backing into other objects is the best advanced driver assistance system available for reducing insurance claims, says a nonprofit group dedicated to reducing accidents and injuries from car crashes.

Researchers from the Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI) found that vehicles equipped with rear automatic emergency braking (AEB) systems had 28 percent fewer property damage liability claims and 10 percent fewer collision claims than those without the technology. The HLDI called rear AEB ‘the standout feature” in its 2020 annual compilation of research into the impact of crash avoidance technologies.

“We haven’t seen that kind of reduction in claims for vehicle and other property damage from any other advanced driver assistance system,” HLDI Senior Vice President Matt Moore says.

In comparison, the Institute found that front AEB reduces the frequency of property damage liability claims by 14 percent and collision claims by 3 percent.

Collision insurance covers damage to the insured driver’s vehicle, while property damage liability insurance covers damage to the other vehicle involved in a crash when the insured driver is at fault. Collision claims with rear damage of less than $2,000 accounted for 17 percent of all collision claims and over $8 billion in estimated damage during calendar years 2010–17, the HLDI says.

“Backing crashes generally happen at lower speeds than front-to-rear crashes,” Moore says. “That means they’re less dangerous, but the costs from vehicle damage can add up.”

For example, front auto emergency braking reduces the frequency of bodily injury liability claims – filed for injuries an at-fault driver inflicts on others – by about 25 percent.

The HLDI report is based on insurance data for model year 2015-18 Subaru vehicles with and without rear AEB and an earlier analysis of 2014-15 General Motors vehicles.

The HLDI is a sister organization to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), the organization known for crash-testing cars and trucks. While the IIHS studies crashes, the HLDI studies insurance claims as they pursue the shared mission of publishing their findings to reduce losses. Both organizations are supported by numerous auto insurers and insurance associations.

What is Automatic Emergency Braking?

Both front and rear automatic emergency braking (AEB) uses sensors to detect when the vehicle is getting too close to an obstacle and automatically brakes to avoid a collision. Two AEB systems, crash imminent braking (CIB) and dynamic brake support (DBS), have been available on some vehicle models in the United States since 2006.

These systems first alert the driver to take corrective action to avoid the collision. If the driver’s response is not sufficient to avoid the crash, the AEB system will automatically apply the brakes to prevent or reduce the severity of a crash, the government’s SaferCar.gov site says.

A Motor Trend article from June 2020 explains that the emergency braking system can also increase braking force if the driver is applying the brakes too lightly to prevent a collision.

Some cars combine rear AEB with rear cross-traffic alert. The technology detects vehicles approaching from either side that may cross the path of a backing vehicle, warns the driver, and may automatically brake to prevent a collision.

All AEB systems detect vehicles, and many can sense pedestrians and cyclists. Some systems allow adjustment to how sensitive AEB is, when and how forward collision warning (FCW) activates, or how far ahead it detects obstacles. Most systems can be turned off.

The technology can also fail, Motor Trend says. A false positive may slam on the brakes unnecessarily, increasing the possibility of a rear-end collision with a driver behind you. If not properly calibrated and too sensitive, a reverse automatic emergency braking system can make it difficult to parallel park.

Still, Motor Trend calls AEB “an important feature that even the most tuned-in drivers can appreciate.”

Automakers Committed to Providing AEB Systems

In 2017, 20 automakers voluntarily committed to equipping virtually all new passenger vehicles with low-speed AEB that includes forward-collision warning by September 2022. The deadline has since been extended to August 2023.

NHTSA estimates that the voluntary agreement could make AEB standard on new cars three years faster than could be achieved through the regulatory process.

In December 2020, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said 10 manufacturers – Audi, BMW, Hyundai, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz, Subaru, Tesla, Toyota, Volkswagen and Volvo – were already installing AEB in all new passenger vehicles. Four more manufacturers – Ford, Honda, Kia and Nissan – were equipping more than 75% of their new passenger vehicles with AEB.

There are about 5 million more vehicles manufactured a year with AEB than when this effort started, the NHTSA release says.

At the time of the agreement, the IIHS estimated that by 2025 widespread availability of AEB would prevent 28,000 crashes and 12,000 injuries.

Contact a Car Accident Lawyer

With or without advanced driver assistance systems in their vehicles, drivers have a duty to drive safely to avoid endangering other people on the roads. A driver whose negligence or recklessness causes a car accident should rightly be held accountable to those injured. With a properly investigated legal claim, an injured person may seek compensation from the at-fault driver for medical bills, lost income, property damage, pain, suffering and more 

The experienced personal injury lawyers at Hardison & Cochran help people who have sustained serious injuries in car accidents in Raleigh and across the Triangle and North Carolina. If you or a loved one of yours has been injured in a car accident someone else caused, contact Hardison & Cochran at (800) 434-8399 or online for a free initial legal consultation.