March 21, 2023

Automatic emergency braking reduces crash rates for pickups by more than 40% but many are not equipped with the safety feature, according to a new study from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. 

“Pickups account for one out of five passenger vehicles on U.S. roads, and their large size can make them dangerous to people in smaller vehicles or on foot,” said study author Jessica Cicchino, vice president of research at IIHS, in a statement. “Nevertheless, manufacturers have been slow to equip them with AEB and other crash avoidance systems.”

AEB systems use sensors like camaras, radar and lidar to detect if a vehicle is getting too close to another vehicle or pedestrian, most systems issue a warning to the driver and then apply the brakes if the driver doesn’t respond. A previous IIHS study shows that nearly all types of vehicles with AEB Technology reduce rear-end crash rate by 50%.

“These numbers confirm that AEB is reducing crashes for pickups, just as it is for cars, SUVs and large trucks,” said Cicchino, in a statement. “The faster automakers can make sure that every pickup they sell has this important safety feature, the better.”

AEB was only standard on about 5% of pickups in the U.S. in 2021 that were registered, compared to 10% of cars and 18% of SUVs. Manufacturers are equipping most new cars and SUVs with the emergency braking feature, but not necessarily pickups. 

A voluntary commitment, which includes 20 manufacturers, was brokered by the IIHS and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration last year. The agreement includes a pledge to include the crash avoidance Technology in light-duty cars and trucks but doesn’t include vehicles over a gross weight of 8,500 until 2025.

“The voluntary agreement covers most passenger vehicles, and federal regulations will soon require AEB on tractor trailers. But there’s a substantial gap in between for Class 3-6 trucks, which include some heavy-duty pickups as well as larger vehicles like some garbage trucks and buses,” Cicchino said, in a statement.

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