GM Front Crash Prevention Systems Cut Police-Reported Crashes

An IIHS study of General Motors vehicles with optional front crash prevention systems adds to the evidence that forward collision warning and automatic emergency braking prevent crashes, according to the analyst firm.

GM vehicles with autobrake and forward collision warning systems had 43-percent fewer police-reported front-to-rear crashes of all severities, and 64-percent fewer front-to-rear crashes with injuries than the same vehicles without any front crash prevention technology, according to IIHS.

For vehicles equipped with forward collision warning only, the crash rate reductions were 17 percent for all front-to-rear crashes and 30 percent for front-to-rear crashes with injuries.

The results echo an earlier IIHS study involving Acura, Fiat Chrysler, Honda, Mercedes-Benz, Subaru and Volvo vehicles, which found that the combination of forward collision warning and autobrake reduced front-to-rear crash rates by 50 percent for crashes of all severities and 56 percent for front-to-rear crashes with injuries. Forward collision warning without autobrake cut the rates 27 percent and 20 percent, respectively, for vehicles in that study.

“The evidence has been mounting that front crash prevention works, and it works even better when it doesn’t solely rely on a response from the driver,” said Jessica Cicchino, IIHS vice president for research and author of both studies.

The new research involves 2013-15 Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet and GMC brands. GM provided vehicle identification numbers (VIN) for vehicles with and without front crash and other crash avoidance systems.

Cicchino obtained information from 23 states on police-reported crashes involving those VINs. The police reports include information on the point of impact, allowing Cicchino to focus on front-to-rear crashes, which are the crashes that front crash prevention technology is designed to help avoid or mitigate. Using exposure data from HLDI, she calculated the rates of these crashes per insured vehicle year.

Information from HLDI’s database was used to control for factors that might have affected crash rates, including the vehicle’s garaging location and driver characteristics.

Cicchino used the information provided by GM on the presence of other crash avoidance features to control for advanced headlight features, which could affect the likelihood of rear-ending another vehicle in the dark.

Twenty automakers representing more than 99 percent of the U.S. auto market have agreed to make automatic emergency braking standard on virtually all new passenger vehicles by September 2022.

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