Real-world effects of rear automatic braking and other backing assistance systems

Cicchino, Jessica B.
Journal of Safety Research
February 2019

Objective: To evaluate the effects of rearview cameras, rear parking sensors, and rear automatic braking systems on backing crashes.
Method: Negative binomial regression was used to compare police-reported backing crash involvements per insured vehicle year in 23 US states during 2012–2015 among General Motors vehicles with Rear Vision Camera alone; Rear Parking Assist alone (rear parking sensors); Rear Vision Camera and Rear Parking Assist; or the Rear Vision Camera, Rear Parking Assist, and Rear Automatic Braking to vehicles with none of these systems. Modeling controlled for other backing assistance systems on vehicles and factors that may affect crash risk.
Results: The combination of Rear Vision Camera and Rear Parking Assist reduced backing crash involvement rates by 42%. When Rear Automatic Braking was added to the Rear Vision Camera and Rear Parking Assist, vehicles with all three systems had backing crash involvement rates that were 78% lower than vehicles with none of the systems. On vehicles with Rear Parking Assist alone or Rear Vision Camera alone, backing crash involvement rates were reduced 28% and 5%, respectively, but these reductions were not statistically significant.
Conclusions: Rearview cameras and rear parking sensors are preventing some backing crashes, but their effectiveness may be constrained in part by drivers not using or responding to the systems appropriately. Rear automatic braking adds to the effectiveness of these systems because it does not rely entirely on appropriate driver response. Practical applications: Rear parking sensors and rearview cameras are available on most new vehicles, but availability of rear automatic braking is limited. If more vehicles were equipped with rear automatic braking that performed like the system evaluated in the current study, many backing crashes that still occur among vehicles with rearview cameras and rear parking sensors could be prevented.

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