The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has started testing the effectiveness of rear crash prevention systems to try reduce parking lot crashes. The IIHS hopes that the rear crash prevention ratings program will help consumers identify models with the technology that can prevent or mitigate low-speed backing crashes.
Not every system is the same, since some vehicles have parking sensors that emit warning beeps and even some have systems that will also vibrate the driver’s seat if an impact is possible. Some newer systems also have rear cross-traffic alert systems that warns drivers of approaching vehicles that might cross their path as they back up. The most effective systems also feature rear automatic emergency braking that may automatically brake if the driver doesn’t heed alerts to stop.
In its latest tests, IIHS engineers evaluated rear autobrake systems on six 2017 model vehicles — the BMW 5 series sedan, Cadillac XT5, Infiniti QX60, Jeep Cherokee, Subaru Outback and Toyota Prius. The IIHS has announced that two systems earn the highest rating of superior, and four earn the second-highest rating of advanced.
Under the three-tier rating scheme, models with optional or standard rear crash prevention systems are rated superior, advanced or basic. Ratings are determined by whether the vehicles have available rear autobrake and, if so, how it performs in a series of car-to-car and car-to-pole tests with different approach angles. The availability of parking sensors and rear cross-traffic alert also is factored in.
The Outback and XT5 earn a superior rating when equipped with optional rear autobrake, parking sensors and rear cross-traffic alert. The Cherokee, 5 series, QX60 and Prius earned an advanced rating with the optional systems.