New car technologies that warn or help drivers avoid a car accident are near standard in luxury cars and SUVs and are becoming more and more standard in lower-cost models. Although the intentions of technologies like crash avoidance, adaptive headlamps and lane departure warning systems are well intentioned it has remained unclear how effective the systems are in reducing the chance of a crash until recently.
The Highway Loss Data Institute recently completed a study that examined the effectiveness of such crash prevention technologies by examining collision claims involving vehicles that feature crash prevention systems and those that don't. The results of the study are mixed. Some of the technology is helpful while it is questionable whether one type of system helps prevents accidents.
Vehicles with collision avoidance systems that automatically alert drivers of a possible collision saw a decline of collision claims by 14 percent. Cars with adaptive headlamps, which change direction based on the position of the steering wheel also saw collision claims fall by as much as 10 percent. However, vehicles with lane departure systems did not fare as well.
Lane departure systems alert drivers when they begin to drive outside of their marked lane, and cars with such systems were documented in an increase of collision claims. Although the increase in the number of vehicles with lane departure systems reported in collision claims was not statistically significant, the higher amount left the HLDI to question whether the systems were helping to reduce the incidence of car crashes.
Estimates by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety predicted that lane departure warning systems would help prevent more than 7,000 fatal crashes. The results of the HLDI study question that estimate, and experts believe that the system may provide so many false alarms that drivers ignore all warnings to their detriment.
Source: Wired, "Study Shows Electronic Driver Aids Mostly Help, Occasionally Hurt," Damon Lavrinc, July 3, 2012
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