It's no secret that pickup trucks are extremely popular in the United States, and that they've steadily grown over the years in both size and weight. A recent study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) shows that automatic emergency braking systems "dramatically" reduce rear-end collisions involving trucks. Unfortunately, the study also finds that many pickups on the road don't have this feature.

What exactly does dramatically mean in this circumstance? IIHS Vice President of Research Jessica Cicchino found a 43 percent lower rate of rear-end collisions in pickup trucks equipped with automatic emergency braking (AEB) systems. Injuries resulting from rear-end collisions were 42 percent lower. And rear-end crash rates with serious injuries or fatalities dropped 77 percent. However, IIHS notes that the 77-percent figure isn't statistically significant.

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The data was compiled by examining crashes reported by police in 25 states over a four-year period, from 2017 through 2020. The exact number of crashes used for the study isn't revealed, nor are specific locations.

"These numbers confirm that AEB is reducing crashes for pickups, just as it is for cars, SUVs, and large trucks,” said Cicchino. "The faster automakers can make sure that every pickup they sell has this important safety feature, the better."

Unfortunately, the study claims that such systems in trucks have been slow to materialize.  IIHS concludes that of all registered pickup trucks on the road in 2021, only 5 percent had autobrake systems. Meanwhile, 10 percent of cars and 18 percent of registered SUVs were AEB-equipped. Going forward, the study points out that larger trucks with a gross vehicle weight over 8,500 pounds won't come under a voluntary deal to require AEB systems until 2025. Even larger trucks over 10,000 pounds don't fall under the deal at all.

Currently, new full-size pickup trucks from Ford, Chevrolet, GMC, Ram, Toyota, Nissan, and Honda offer standard-issue AEB systems in the US.

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