common car safety feature

Research Shows Common Car Safety Feature Fails to Prevent Collisions

In the last decade, automakers have surpassed the expectations of safety standards, introducing innovations such as advanced driver assist systems (ADAS) and collision avoidance technologies. These advancements aim to enhance vehicle safety by providing drivers with alerts and assistance in potential crash scenarios. However, as technology evolves, so comes into the question the reliability of these common car safety features. While these advancements have undoubtedly made vehicles safer, there are concerns about their effectiveness in real-world driving conditions.

In recent tests performed by the American Automobile Association (AAA), this concern comes to life. Rear automatic emergency braking (AEB) with cross-traffic detection failed to avert a collision between a reversing SUV and an oncoming vehicle in over 97% of instances. Additionally, in half of the scenarios, the systems did not prevent an SUV from colliding with a simulated child positioned behind the vehicle.

The results confirms AEB technology is not foolproof, and it requires more attention.

Does AEB cause accidents?

AEB uses sensors to identify obstacles in your vehicle’s trajectory, activating the brakes automatically if you fail to stop following a warning. Certain advanced systems, such as the 2023 models tested in the AAA tests, now include rear cross-traffic detection, which aims to identify approaching vehicles when you’re reversing into traffic. However, for the sensors to detect a vehicle, they must have a clear line of sight.

AAA results

In collaboration with the Automobile Club of Southern California’s Automotive Research Center, AAA handpicked four sought-after 2023 model year vehicles featuring reverse automatic emergency braking (AEB) with rear cross traffic mitigation. The selected vehicles were all small to medium SUVs, reflecting the popularity of these vehicle categories. The chosen models included the 2023 Hyundai Tucson Hybrid, the Limited AWD 2023 Lexus RX 350 Premium, the 2023 Mazda CX-30 2.5 Turbo AWD Premium Plus Package, and the 2023 Volkswagen Tiguan 2.0T SEL R-Line.

During the testing, reverse automatic emergency braking (AEB) systems engaged the brakes automatically in 65% of test runs and successfully prevented collisions in 2.5% of test scenarios where the subject vehicle crossed behind the test vehicle during backing-up maneuvers. With a stationary child target positioned behind the test vehicle, reverse AEB applied brakes in 75% of test runs and averted collisions in 50% of cases.

Drivers should not solely rely on these advanced driving systems to prevent collisions, but instead use them to enhance their awareness of their surroundings and support safe driving,” said Greg Brannon, AAA’s director of automotive engineering.

Although AEB has become a useful common car safety feature in newer models, it’s important for drivers to approach the backing-up procedure as they would without the feature. Take a moment to allow the sensors to detect oncoming traffic by pausing before reversing— this proactive approach ensures optimal functionality.


While current AEB systems may have limitations in detecting oncoming cars, future advancements are expected to refine these capabilities. The tests performed by AAA highlight the need for ongoing improvement and standardization in automotive safety technology. As drivers, it’s crucial to remain vigilant and understand the capabilities and limitations of advanced driving systems. By staying informed and adopting safe driving practices, we can keep the roads safer for everyone.

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Michaella Malone
Michaella Malone is a content specialist and full-time freelancer with 5+ years of experience working with small businesses on online platforms. She is a graduate of Florida State University (Go Noles!) and avid traveller, having visited over 25 countries and counting. In addition to blogging, ghostwriting, and social media content, she has contributed to the development of English as a Second Language (ESL) curriculums for international programs.

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