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IIHS Study Finds Lane Departure and Blind Spot Warning Could Save Thousands of Lives

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【Summary】A new study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety estimates that thousands of lives could be saved if Lane Departure and Blind Spot Warning were more widely implemented.

Mia Bevacqua    Sep 04, 2017 12:00 PM PT
IIHS Study Finds Lane Departure and Blind Spot Warning Could Save Thousands of Lives

Before anti-lock brakes (ABS), you practically had to drag your feet, Fred Flintstone style, to stop a vehicle without locking the wheels. The introduction of ABS had a huge effect on vehicle safety. A couple of modern technologies – lane departure warning and blind-spot detection – are poised to revolutionize automotive safety in a similar manner. Technologists predict these two collision warning systems could save thousands of lives. 

By the Numbers

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHA) estimates one in four fatal crashes is the result of lane drifting. This shouldn't come as much of a surprise, if you think of the number of people tweeting and snap chatting while they drive. Lane departure warning and blind-spot detection could drastically reduce lane drifting accidents. 

According to an article by USA Today, lane departure warning could cut injury crashes by 21% and drop total collisions by 11%. This means that 85,000 crashes and 55,000 injuries could have been avoided, had lane departure warning been required on all vehicles since 2015. 

The same goes for blind-spot detection. The IIHS estimates this feature cuts lane-change crash injuries by 23% and lane-change crashes by 14%. 

GPS-Blind-Spot-Assist-System-With-Rear-Detection-Sensors-And-Side-Collision-Warning-Starting-From-32km.jpg

Implementing advanced safety features

Jessica Cicchino, IIHS vice president for research, notes one of the biggest problems with lane drift warning systems is that drivers often deactivate them. They get annoyed by the audible alerts or seat vibrations. Apparently, not everyone enjoys an impromptu glute massage.

Autotrader.com analyst Michelle Krebs says blind spot detection is one of the most popular safety features among consumers. Even so, only 9% of 2017 model year vehicles were equipped with this feature. Only 6% of 2017 model-year vehicles were equipped with standard lane-departure warning.

Both technologies could be had as optional equipment on 57% of new vehicles in 2017. So, to be safe, you just need to pony up a few extra bucks. 

A few years ago, these technologies could only be had on high-end luxury vehicles. Now, it can even be had on some subcompact cars – but not all of them.  

It's a basic case of supply in demand. If consumers start asking for lane departure warning and blind spot detection, automakers will offer it more often. According to AAA, approximately 41% of consumers said they would look for a lane departure warning system in their next vehicle. Perhaps this desire will prompt automakers to produce advanced safety systems in greater volume. 


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