Many new safety technologies have been introduced in automobiles now on the market, and according to a new study, at least some of them are working.
The study, by the Highway Loss Data Institute, analyzed insurance claims in conjunction with data from automobile accidents. The non-profit institute is funded by the insurance industry.
“The emergence of these new safety technologies are an important step toward reducing the number of tragic injuries and deaths that occur on the highway,” said Robert Joyce, a Tampa, Florida car accident attorney with the Joyce & Reyes law firm.
According to the study, one particularly effective technology is the “forward collision avoidance system.” The system warns drivers when they are approaching an object at a high rate of speed. Some systems will actually apply the brakes if the driver does not.
This feature is already available in models like the Volvo XC60, the Mercedes CL Class sedan, and the Acura MDX.
The Institute studied liability claims for accidents involving the Mercedes-Benz and Acura models, and found a 14 percent reduction in claims for property damage in the models that featured the new technology, compared to those that did not.
Several other new technologies show some promise as well.
The study found that adaptive headlights, which change direction in response to the driver’s steering, caused a 10% reduction in claims. Although there was some variation in the data, injury claims dropped significantly across the board, including by nearly 30% in some Mazda models.
As for parking-assistance systems and blind-spot-detection systems, there is so far no measurable effect on collision rates, according to the study. Another technology, lane departure warnings, actually was associated with an increase in claims, though the reason is unclear. The system warns drivers when they appear to be drifting out of their lane.