Sometimes technology is a good thing. New research presented by the IIHS Tuesday shows automatic emergency braking systems helped reduce the number of collisions and crash-related injuries in General Motors vehicles.
The independent safety body said optional front crash prevention systems (which includes automating braking and forward-collision alerts) reduced the number of front-to-rear crashes reported to police by a whopping 43 percent. The same crashes with injuries dropped by an even larger figure: 64 percent. GM vehicles equipped with just forward collision alert saw more marginal reductions 17 percent for all front-to-rear crashes and 30 percent for front-to-rear crashes with injuries.
Across the industry, the IIHS found automatic braking and forward-collision warnings reduced front-to-rear crash rates by 50 percent and 56 percent for front-to-rear crashes with injuries. In the latest study, the IIHS looked at 2013-2015 Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, and GMC models and obtained their crash history based on 23 states' police reports.
Numerous brands have moved to include forward collision warning and automatic emergency braking as standard equipment, often bundled within a suite of active safety features. GM, however, is an outlier. More often than not, GM only offers the technology on pricier trim levels on its Chevrolet, Buick, and GMC vehicles. For example, the least expensive way for a buyer to spec a Chevrolet Equinox with automatic emergency braking is the Premier model. Even then, buyers need to select an optional package that costs $2,145 for a final price tag of $36,140.
An even more extreme example is soon-to-launch Chevrolet Blazer. The mid-size crossover SUV once again only offers automatic emergency braking with the Premier trim, which starts at $43,895. Only when buyers add an optional package for another $2,165 will he or she gain the active safety technology, which brings the total to $46,060 with front-wheel drive and $48,960 for all-wheel-drive models.
The Blazer's main rivals, the Ford Edge and Nissan Murano, bundle automatic emergency braking and other active safety as standard equipment in all trim levels.