When blind spot alert or a lane departure warning system keeps you from steering into another vehicle the next time you are driving, count your blessings.
The prevalent collision avoidance systems dramatically cut the number of accidents and injury-related crashes, found a new study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
“These systems are saving lives,” said Jessica Cicchino, IIHS vice president for research. “The numbers show warning systems work.”
Conclusion about the types of collisions that lane departure and blind spot warning systems are designed to prevent were arrived at through a study where Cicchino analyzed more than 5,000 accidents in 2015.
In vehicles that are fitted with the warning systems, the rate of single-vehicle, sideswipe and head-on crashes was 11 percent lower, she found. According to the study, the rates of injury crashes of the same type were cut by 21 percent by the collision avoidance technology and this was the more important finding of the study.
But how can these findings impact and influence the life of drivers and passengers in terms of avoiding injuries?
More than 55,000 injuries would have been prevented if all passenger vehicles had been equipped with lane departure warning systems in 2015, the IIHS says.
“These systems have shown they prevent some of the deadliest accidents on the road because they give the driver time to avoid a crash,” said Cicchino.
The data shows many drivers may be turning off warning systems in their vehicles even while the data should drive home the importance of collision avoidance systems.
Why do researchers suspect this is happening?
Results of two similar studies conducted in 2015 were compared and contrasted with the findings of this report by the IIHS. While one of the studies was on Volvo cars in Sweden, the other was focused on trucking fleets in the U.S. Crash rates could be cut by roughly 50 percent by the lane departure warning systems, the earlier studies found.
“People shut these systems off,” said Cicchino. “Some of the systems beep instead of having the seat vibrate, which we think may be annoying to the driver.”
The adoption of collision avoidance systems has been slow despite the fact there were approximately 6 million vehicles crashes in the U.S. in 2015. Lane departure warning systems as standard equipment are included in just 6 percent of the new vehicles for sale in 2017, Cicchino said. on the other hand, in just 9 percent of the vehicles in showrooms, blind spot alerts are standard installations.
The technology is typically grouped into a safety package or higher trim level which can add several thousand dollars to the cost of a new model while the technologies are offered as an option in another 57 percent of the vehicles for sale.
(Adapted from CNBC