Crash avoidance technology is a growing trend in new automobiles, presumably to keep us safe, but according to the Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI), certain systems are causing an increase in collision related insurance claims.
Study results show that lane departure assistance seems to increase the chance of collision, although the data doesn’t say why. Cars equipped with lane departure warnings were recorded as having increased claim rates. These systems warn the driver when the vehicles tires are on top of, or over the lines while driving on the highway. Driver reaction is required to make this system effective, unlike the other safety systems which work on their own to prevent collisions. This is the main theory as to why lane departure warnings have not been as effective as other safety warnings.
The constant warnings that come from the lane departure assist also seem to be an issue because drivers are likely to turn the systems off or ignore them because they see the alerts as a nuisance.
Lane departure prevention systems, which intervene and keep the vehicle in the lane have yet to be studied by the HLDI, but are predicted to return positive results.
“It may be that drivers are getting too many false alarms, which could make them tune out the warnings or turn them off completely. Of course, that doesn’t explain why the systems seem to increase claim rates, but we need to gather more data to see if that’s truly happening,” said Matt Moore, vice president of HLDI, an affiliate of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
Other systems, however are contributing to the reduction of vehicle collisions. The two best safety features are forward collision alert, especially when equipped with autonomous braking, and adaptive headlights. Results are based on how the presence of the technologies affected claim frequency under a variety of insurance coverage for damage and injuries.
Forward alert uses radar and camera sensors that detect vehicles ahead, and warns the driver when a collision is imminent. In some vehicles, the forward alert system is combined with autonomous braking, meaning that the car will warn the driver, as well apply the brakes to make sure the crash is avoided.
Adaptive headlights generally use LED or HID lighting, which provide a wider beam and brighter light than in older vehicles. The main feature that helps to avoid collisions in these lights though is the automatic tracking features, which allows the headlights to turn in sync with the turning of the steering wheel.
“As more automakers offer advanced technologies on their vehicles, insurance data provide an early glimpse of how these features perform in the real world,” says Matt Moore, vice president of HLDI.