The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety said many models' automatic braking systems perform poorly in nighttime tests.
The study, released Tuesday, comes amidst climbing traffic deaths in the U.S., with 2021 having the highest number killed on U.S. roads in a single year since 2005.
Of the 23 models tested, only four earned a Superior rating from the IIHS, and more than half earned a Basic Score or No Credit.
David Harkey, president of IIHS, likened the study's four-level grading scheme to letter grades in academics – with Superior being an A and No Credit being an F. In essence, this means a majority of models either failed or came near failing the nighttime test.
The four vehicles that earned Superior were the Ford Mustang Mach-E, Nissan Pathfinder, Toyota Camry and Toyota Highlander.
The Chevrolet Malibu, Honda Pilot, Nissan Altima and Toyota Tacoma all received No Credit.
Despite their poor performance at night, 19 of the 23 vehicles earned high marks in similar daytime tests. Harkey said it may be due to automakers primarily focusing on daytime conditions when designing automatic-brake systems.