How vehicle safety technology may reduce accidents drastically

Each year, more and more car buyers purchase vehicles with safety technology to help them avoid accidents. That’s because driver error is one of the most common causes of accidents. So, now drivers can choose to have their cars equipped with everything from blind-spot monitoring to automatic backup emergency braking.

Yet, how effective are these safety technologies at preventing a crash?

The effectiveness of safety technology

A 2019 study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI) showed how much vehicle safety technology features reduced accidents:

  • Forward collision warnings reduced accidents with injuries by 20%.
  • Forward collision warnings with autobraking reduced accidents with injuries by 56%.
  • Lane departure warnings reduced sideswipe and head-on crashes with injuries by 21%.
  • Blind-spot detection reduced lane-change accidents by 23%.
  • Rear automatic braking (with a backup camera and parking sensors) reduced backup accidents by 78%.
  • Rear cross-traffic alerts reduced accidents by 22%.

Understanding safety technology features

However, drivers need to fully understand their car’s technology safety features to use them effectively. In a 2018 AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety study, 80% of drivers didn’t understand the limitations of their car’s blind-spot monitoring system. Those limitations include:

  • Not being able to detect pedestrians or cyclists
  • Not being able to detect vehicles traveling at a high speed

About 40% of drivers confused forward collision warning features with those of automatic braking. The forward collision warning is just that: a warning. However, automatic braking applies the brakes when the system detects the car may hit an object.

Another concern is that some drivers who have multiple in-car technology features feel comfortable to engage in other activities while behind the wheel. Yet, distracted driving is another leading cause of accidents.

In-car safety technology has shown it can decrease accident rates significantly. Yet drivers need to understand the limitations of their car safety technology and not rely on those systems entirely to prevent a crash.