Safety Systems Help Prevent Car Crashes, Says New Study

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Results from a new study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) show that new lane departure systems help prevent accidents. More and more new cars are built with these systems, although sometimes only as options.

The research organization reports:

Results of the new study indicate that lane departure warning lowers rates of single-vehicle, sideswipe and head-on crashes of all severities by 11 percent and lowers the rates of injury crashes of the same types by 21 percent. That means that if all passenger vehicles had been equipped with lane departure warning, nearly 85,000 police-reported crashes and more than 55,000 injuries would have been prevented in 2015.

The option many car companies have to include the technology is not cheap. Chevy charges $1,275 for a set of options called its “Premium Confidence Package” that can be added to its Impala sedan. This includes adaptive cruise control, a forward collision warning, lane departure warnings and special tires. The Mercedes C300 offers an option called “Premium Driver Assistance” for $3,300. This includes lane departure technology, blind spot assistance, speed limit assistance and pedestrian and cross-traffic warnings.

Jessica Cicchino, IIHS vice president for research, said:

This is the first evidence that lane departure warning is working to prevent crashes of passenger vehicles on U.S. roads. 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.

Models tested came from General Motors, Honda, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz, Subaru and Volvo.

Among the issues the study may raise is whether these technologies will become standard equipment on cars, and not expensive add-ons. This eventually would put it in the category of seat belts and antilock brakes. Given the number of lives that could be potentially saved, it would be a shame if all cars did not carry the technology.