Study: Active Safety Systems Lower Crash, Injury Percentages

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Automotive Editor

Based out of the Washington, D.C. area, Joel Patel is an automotive journalist that hails from Northern Virginia. His work has been featured on various automotive outlets, including Autoweek, Digital Trends, and Autoblog. When not writing about cars, Joel enjoys trying new foods, wrenching on his car, and watching horror movies. 

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, Automotive Editor - August 29, 2017

There's a lot to like about the increase of technology in automobiles, including the fact that cars are now safer than ever. According to two new studies from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, active safety features like lane-departure warning and blind-spot detection significantly help reduce the number of accidents, as long as drivers actually use the features.

The studies by the IIHS found that lane-departure warning systems lower the rate of head-on, sideswipe, and single-vehicle crashes of all types by 11 percent, while the rate of injury-inducing incidents decreases by 21 percent. The institute reports that if all passenger cars from 2015 had the technology, approximately 85,000 police-reported crashes and 55,000 injuries could've been avoided.

“Given the large number of fatal crashes that involve unintentional lane departures, technology aimed at preventing them has the potential to save a lot of lives,” said Jessica Cicchino, IIHS vice president for research.

The study looked into lane-departure warning systems on vehicles from six automakers, including Mazda, Honda, Subaru, General Motors, Volvo, and Mercedes-Benz. And the institute also looked at the vehicles' vehicle identification numbers (VIN) to ensure that they were actually fitted with the technology. To ensure that other factors didn't affect the study, the IIHS also controlled for gender, driver age, insurance risk level, and more.

Using a similar method, the IIHS also conducted a study on blind spot detection systems, finding that the feature lowers the rate of all lane-change crashes by 14 percent and the rate of injury-inducing lane-change injuries by 23 percent. Cars from Mercedes, Mazda, Volvo, Honda, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, and General Motors were used in the second study.

“That said, if every passenger vehicle on the road were equipped with blind spot detection as effective as the systems we studied, about 50,000 police-reported crashes a year could be prevented,” said Cicchino.

While the benefits of active systems like lane-departure warning and blind-spot detection are clear, USA Today reports that only six percent of new cars from 2017 come with lane-departure warning as standard, while blind-spot detection is more readily available, as nine percent of vehicles come with the tech from the factory. Both features, though, as the outlet points out, were optional on 57 percent of new cars.

Hyundai Safety

, Automotive Editor

Based out of the Washington, D.C. area, Joel Patel is an automotive journalist that hails from Northern Virginia. His work has been featured on various automotive outlets, including Autoweek, Digital Trends, and Autoblog. When not writing about cars, Joel enjoys trying new foods, wrenching on his car, and watching horror movies. 

Follow On: Twitter | Website

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