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IIHS: Crash-avoidance technologies reduce crash deaths, injuries

Status Report cover
Photo: Insurance Institute for Highway Safety

Arlington, VA – Lane departure warnings and blind spot detection technologies are helping to prevent motor vehicle crashes and related injuries, according to new research from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

Using police reports and Vehicle Identification Numbers provided by six car manufacturers that include LDW technology as an option, researchers looked at data from 2009 to 2015 from states that supplied the VINs of vehicles involved in crashes. They found that LDW technology decreases rates of single-vehicle incidents by 11 percent, and the rate of injury from those crashes by 21 percent. In other words, if all vehicles in 2015 had this feature, 85,000 fewer crashes and 55,000 fewer injuries would have been reported, the researchers said.

When not accounting for demographics such as driver age, gender and insurance risk level, the decreases in crash and injury rates were 18 percent and 24 percent, respectively.

“This is the first evidence that lane departure warning is working to prevent crashes of passenger vehicles on U.S. roads,” Jessica Cicchino, IIHS vice president for research, said in a press release. “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.”

Using the same data as the LDW study, the researchers analyzed blind spot detection’s effectiveness in preventing lane change incidents. Results showed that the technology lowers the lane change crash rate by 14 percent and the rate of lane change crashes with injuries by 23 percent.

“Blind spot detection systems work by providing additional information to the driver,” Cicchino said. “It’s still up to the driver to pay attention to that information and use it to make decisions. 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.”

The study was published in the Aug. 23 edition of Status Report.

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