New research shows advanced safety features in cars can dramatically lower the incidence of certain crashes, especially when the features are combined.
The University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute compared crashes between GM vehicles with advanced safety features and those without the features.
In many cases, the difference in crash rates was very large.
One example: forward collision alert combined with automatic emergency braking. That technology allows a car to warn a driver who's about to rear end another car, and the car then applies the brakes automatically if the driver doesn't respond.
That combination reduced rear end crashes by 46%.
Major automakers have voluntarily agreed to make forward collision alert and automatic emergency braking standard features in new models by 2022.
Crashes that happen when a car is backing up were reduced by 81% when all four related technologies were installed: rear vision camera, rear park assist, rear cross traffic alert, and reverse automatic braking.
The new research shows similar results to previous studies by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, which found a 50% reduction in crashes in cars equipped with forward collision alert and automatic emergency braking, and a 78% reduction in crashes in vehicles with rear automatic braking and other sensors.