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Volvo first introduced its City Safety feature in 2008, marking the first time a production car could not only detect an impending impact but actually apply the brakes on its own to prevent a collision. As a sign of just how well it works, similar technology will become mandatory on all cars in Europe starting in 2014.
Volvo is living up to its reputation for being a leader in safety, with a new report shedding light on exactly how big an impact the brand’s new City Safety collision avoidance system is having.
According to a study published by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and the Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI), Volvo’s XC60 model, which comes standard with the City Safety system, is involved in significantly fewer crashes than comparable vehicles. And that’s not all. Studying insurance claims data, not only does the XC60 get into 2 percent fewer accidents, but property damage claims are down 27 percent, while claims for personal injuries have been cut in half.
“It is great to see validation from HLDI and IIHS of the safety systems that we at Volvo are continually developing,” said Thomas Broberg, Volvo Car Corp.’s senior safety expert. “This is another step towards achieving our Vision 2020 of eliminating serious injuries and fatalities by the year 2020, and an even larger step towards a crash-free future.”
Along with preventing accidents and saving lives, the City Safety system is also benefiting the insurance companies, with property damage payouts down 20 percent, and overall collision payouts down 31 percent.
Volvo’s City Safety system works by using a laser sensor in the front of the vehicle that scans the road ahead, applying the brakes automatically at speeds between 2 and 19 mph if the driver does not react. At speeds below 9 mph the system can bring the car to a complete stop, while at speeds between 9 and 19 mph it can engage the brakes and reduce the speed at impact by half. Originally a technology only for the XC60 luxury crossover, it is now standard on all 2012 S60, S80 and XC70 models.
“This is our first real-world look at an advanced crash avoidance technology, and the findings are encouraging,” said Adrian Lund, president of HLDI and IIHS. “City Safety is helping XC60 drivers avoid the kinds of front-to-rear low speed crashes that frequently happen on congested roads.”
So could buying a Volvo cut your insurance costs? In the future, perhaps. “The lower claim frequencies found by HLDI prove that City Safety is preventing crashes and thus reducing insurance costs,” said John Maloney, VCNA’s vice president of marketing and product planning. “There’s an opportunity here for insurance companies to begin offering a discount on vehicles equipped with City Safety or similar crash-avoidance technologies.”
Ads to appear on the first day of the Department of Transportation's Distracted Driving Summit
Tomorrow, if you pick up a copy of USA Today or The Washington Post, you’re likely to see Volvo’s full page ad, calling for legislation on “distracted driving.” The ads come on the very day that the U.S. Department of Transportation begins its two day Distracted Driving Summit to discuss the issue. Along with senior DOT staff, the summit will also host elected officials, safety advocates, academics and law enforcement representatives. Volvo, however, is not a participant, although the company that has built a reputation for vehicles that are, above all else, safe, obviously has something to say on the matter.
“With the proliferation of cell phone use and text messaging while behind the wheel, distracted driving is on the rise and is a leading cause of traffic accidents,” said Doug Speck, Volvo Cars North America president and CEO. “Reasonable laws that help focus a driver’s attention on the road will help reduce collisions, just as laws to enforce seat belt use have helped save lives. By holding this summit, the DOT is demonstrating its commitment to resolve an ever-growing safety issue.”
Along with numerous safety innovations throughout the decades, more recently Volvo prides itself on electronic systems such as lane departure warning or even the new “City Safety” system which debuted on the XC60 (above), that can actually stop the vehicle when a collision is detected.
Currently only seven states have banned cell phone use (without a hands-free device) while driving, while 18 states have laws against texting while driving.
Official release after the jump: