Effects of forward collision warning and automatic emergency braking on rear-end crashes involving pickup trucks

Cicchino, Jessica B.
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety
November 2022

Objective: About 1 in 5 registered U.S. passenger vehicles is a pickup truck, but safety technology tends to be available on pickups later than other passenger vehicle types. The objective of this study was to estimate the effects of forward collision warning (FCW) and automatic emergency braking (AEB) on pickups.
Methods: Rear-end crashes where a pickup with optional FCW or AEB was the striking vehicle were identified in 25 U.S. states during 2017–2020. Quasi-induced exposure was performed with logistic regression to compare rear-end-striking crashes between vehicles with and without the systems relative to being struck in the rear. Rear-end-striking crash rates per registered vehicle year were also compared between equipped and non-equipped pickups with Poisson regression. The association of the systems with severity in the rear-end-striking crashes that occurred was examined with logistic regression.
Results: In the quasi-induced exposure analysis, AEB was associated with statistically significant 34% reductions in the risk of a rear-end-striking crash of any severity and with any injuries, and a 76% reduction in the risk of a rear-end-striking crash with serious or fatal injuries (p = 0.09). FCW was associated with statistically significant declines of 22% in the risk of a rear-end-striking crash with any injuries and 71% in the risk of a rear-end-striking crash with serious or fatal injuries, but FCW was not associated with a change in all rear-end-striking crashes. Results were similar in Poisson regression models for all but FCW’s effect on all rear-end-striking crashes. Rear-end-striking crashes involving pickups with FCW were significantly less likely to result in any injuries or serious/fatal injuries than those involving pickups without the system. AEB was associated with a nonsignificant reduction in the odds of serious/fatal injuries when a rear-end strike occurred and no change in the odds of any injuries.
Discussion: Consistent benefits for front crash prevention systems have been established for a wide range of vehicle types, including cars, SUVs, large trucks, and now pickups. Gaps in proposed U.S. regulations should be filled so that AEB is required equipment on all new vehicles.