Recent Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) research shows that the emerging safety technology available on many new cars today,technology is helping to prevent accidents on U.S. roadways.
Jessica Cicchino, who is the vice president for research at IIHS, has authored a report evaluating the impact of various safety features using police-reported data by crash type. After analyzing accidents caused by drivers unintentionally leaving a lane and identifying the number of vehicles with and without lane departure warning (LDW) technology, it was determined that LDW features could save thousands of lives every year.[i]
The new study results show that rates of single-vehicle, head-on crashes and sideswipe of all types of severity are lowered by 11% due to lane departure warnings, and rates of injury crashes drop 21 percent. What this means is if lane departure warning technology had been equipped on all passenger vehicles, over 85,000 crashes and over 55,000 injuries in 2015 could have been prevented.[ii]
Blind spot warning technology has also been effective, lowering lane change crashes by 14% and decreasing the number of injuries from lane-change collisions by 23%.[iii]Despite the fact that lane departure technology has reduced the fatal single passenger crash rate by 49%, drivers aren’t always good about utilizing the system.[iv] According to Cicchino, too many people are deactivating alerts. She stresses the importance of educating drivers on the benefits and designing systems that encourage greater use.
Other Safety Technology Helps Drivers Avoid Crashes
Other safety features are becoming increasingly available on new cars, which according to Cicchino, will help keep drivers safe. Her previous studies addressing autobrake features show a 50% reduction in the number of front-to-rear crashes..
Backup cameras have also proven effective in reducing accidents. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration ((NHTSA) has mandated that all cars be equipped with rear-view cameras by 2018, a ruling that could prevent one in six backing crashes.[v]
The NTSB is also working to make collision avoidance systems standard in vehicles. There are about 1.7 million rear-end collisions each year in the United States, and the NTSB believes that 80% of deaths and injuries could be avoided if cars were equipped with front crash prevention systems that automatically apply the brakes if the driver fails to react quickly enough.[vi]
Each year about a quarter of traffic fatalities are caused by lane changes and 1,700 deaths occur from rear-end collisions, but Cicchino warns that safety features alone are not the answer to preventing serious accidents. Drivers need to remain vigilant when driving and avoid relying exclusively on safety technology. When it comes to being safe on the roadways, a good offense is always the best defense.
[i] Jessica b. Cicchino. “Effects of Land Departure Warning on Police-Reported Crash Rates.” Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, Aug., 2017. Web.
[ii] Nathan Bomey. “IIHS Auto Safety Study: Lane-Departure, Blind-spot, Warning Could Save Thousands of Lives. USA Today, Aug. 23, 2017.
[iii] Joseph Dobrian. “New IIHS Sutdies Suggest Lane-Departure Warning, Blind-Spot Detection Doing Their Job.” J.D. Power, Aug. 31, 2017. Web.
[iv] Nathan Bomey. “IIHS Auto Safety Study: Lane-Departure, Blind-spot, Warning Could Save Thousands of Lives. USA Today, Aug. 23, 2017.
[v] Joseph Dobrian. “New IIHS Sutdies Suggest Lane-Departure Warning, Blind-Spot Detection Doing Their Job.” J.D. Power, Aug. 31, 2017. Web.
[vi] Ashley Halsey III. “There Are about 1.7 Million rear-end Collisions on U.S. Raods Each Year. Here’s How to Stop Them.” WP Company, LLC. The Washington Post, Jun. 8, 2015. Web.