New research from the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS) shows that lane departure warning and blind-spot detection technology are preventing accidents on American highways (Lane departure warning, blind-spot detection help drivers avoid trouble). The studies evaluated various crash avoidance features by reviewing police report data.
The research indicates that lane departure warning systems reduce all types of single-vehicle, sideswipe, and head-on crashes by 11 percent and reduce crashes resulting in injuries by 21 percent. Approximately 85,000 police-reported crashes and 55,000 injuries could have been prevented in 2015 alone if all passenger vehicles were equipped with lane departure warning technology. Although there were not enough deadly crashes to include in a statistical model that controlled for demographics, a simpler analysis found that lane departure warnings decreased fatalities by 86 percent.
“This is the first evidence that lane departure warning is working to prevent crashes of passenger vehicles on U.S. roads,” said IIHS Vice President for Research Jessica Cicchino. “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.”
Similar research looked at the benefits of blind-spot detection systems when vehicles were changing lanes or merging. Blindspot detection lowered lane-change crashes by 14 percent and accidents resulting in injuries by 23 percent. “Blindspot detection systems work by providing additional information to the driver. It’s still up to the driver to pay attention to that information and use it to make decisions,” Cicchino said. “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.”
Previous research found that lane departure warning technology on large trucks reduced accidents by 50%, and these new studies have confirmed that the benefits extend to passenger vehicles as well. It’s time for these modern safety features to be required on all new vehicles, but at a minimum, they should be mandated on all large trucks and tractor-trailers due to the devastating consequences that result when they are involved in an accident.
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