Automakers have made remarkable progress in improving vehicle safety over the last twenty years. Airbags, anti-lock brakes and steel safety cages are now standard equipment, while many newer vehicles feature blind-spot detection systems, vehicle skid control and rearview cameras. Interestingly, a group of researchers with the Highway Loss Data Institute recently set out to determine whether some of the very newest safety technologies are actually preventing car accidents.

In order to accomplish this, the researchers examined insurance claim data connected with a particular crash avoidance system. In other words, they looked to see whether the owners of cars equipped with a particular crash avoidance system filed fewer property damage claims for car crashes than their counterparts without the safety technology.

The researchers found that cars equipped with collision avoidance systems — which warn drivers when they are gaining too quickly on objects directly in their path and sometimes automatically stop the car when a car crash is about to occur — reported 14 percent fewer property damage claims.

Similarly, the researchers found that cars equipped with adaptive headlights — which move in the same direction as the steering wheel — reported up to 10 percent fewer property damage claims.

“So far, forward collision technology is reducing claims, particularly for damage to other vehicles, and adaptive headlights are having an even bigger impact than we had anticipated,” said Matt Moore, vice president of HLDI.

One of the more fascinating findings of the study, however, was that vehicles equipped with lane departure warning systems — which warn drivers when they appear to be drifting in and out of their lane — reported a statistically insignificant increase in property damage claims.

HLDI indicated that more research is needed to determine why lane departure warning systems are perhaps not living up to their potential and to study other safety systems.

Remember, if you have been seriously injured in a car accident caused by the negligence or recklessness of another, a skilled attorney can help you pursue the justice you need and deserve.

Source: CNN, “New auto safety technologies appear successful,” James O’Toole, July 3, 2012