GM & University of Michigan: Collision mitigation tech reduces crashes up to 81 percent

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2017 Chevy Silverado
2017 Chevy Silverado 1500

While data is scarce regarding the effectiveness of collision mitigation equipment in larger vehicle classes, a study conducted by GM and the University of Michigan revealed large reductions in crashes from cars to ¾-ton trucks equipped with crash avoidance technology.

The study leveraged 3.7 million GM vehicles across 20 different models from 2013-2017. Fifteen different systems were evaluated using police report crash databases available to the university’s Transportation Research Institute from 10 states.

After comparing the crash instances involving vehicles with and without active safety features, the study showed that certain features evaluated had an impact in preventing the types of crashes the features were designed to help prevent or mitigate.

Significant findings include:

  • Automatic Emergency Braking (or Forward Automatic Braking) with Forward Collision Alert reduced rear-end striking crashes by 46 percent.
  • Lane Keep Assist with Lane Departure Warning reduced lane departure-related crashes by 20 percent.
  • Lane Change Alert with Side Blind Zone Alert reduced lane change crashes by 26 percent.
  • Rear Vision Camera alone, Rear Park Assist functionality, Rear Cross Traffic Alert (which nearly always includes the two previous backing features) and Reverse Automatic Braking (which includes all the previous backing features) produced, respectively, an estimated 21, 38, 52 and 81 percent reductions in backing crashes.
  • IntelliBeam and High-Intensity Discharge headlight features provided 35 and 21 percent reductions, respectively, in nighttime pedestrian/bicyclist/animal crashes, with a 49 percent reduction when offered together.

“This study is groundbreaking in terms of the broad range of vehicles and active safety and headlighting features examined,” said GM Safety Technical Fellow, Raymond Kiefer. “The results show that the GM active safety systems evaluated are addressing a wide range of common crashes that cause a staggering amount of injuries, property damage and cost to our customers and society, putting GM well on its way toward a vision of zero crashes.”

“A key finding of this work is that we can make substantial gains in safety through deployment of advanced driver assistance systems such as forward and rear emergency braking, rear cross-traffic alert, and others. In addition, we found that the more automated the system, the greater the benefits,” said UMTRI Research Associate Professor, Carol Flannagan. “This work looked at reduction in crashes associated with systems already in the hands of drivers in real-world driving environments. Our working relationship with GM is critical to our ability to evaluate the effects of these systems, and we hope that what we learned can motivate more widespread deployment of the most effective technologies.”

For more information and to read the full report, visit