Lane departure warning, blind spot detection help drivers avoid trouble

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Ruckersville, VA (Aug. 23, 2017) – Lane departure warning, a technology designed to address an often-fatal type of crash, is preventing crashes on U.S. roads, new research from IIHS shows. A separate study shows that blind spot detection also is yielding benefits when it comes to preventing lane-change crashes.

The studies are the latest in a series by Jessica Cicchino, IIHS vice president for research, that evaluates different crash avoidance features by looking at data from police-reported crashes.* Police reports include information on the circumstances of a crash, making it possible to look specifically at the types of crashes that particular technologies are designed to address, rather than just looking at crash rates generally. Cicchino’s previous studies found that front crash prevention with autobrake cuts the rate of front-to-rear crashes in half and that rearview cameras can prevent about 1 in 6 backing crashes.

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 analysis controlled for driver age, gender, insurance risk level and other factors that could affect the rates of crashes per insured vehicle year.

A simpler analysis that didn’t account for driver demographics found that lane departure warning cut the fatal crash rate 86 percent. There weren’t enough fatal crashes to include them in a statistical model that controlled for demographics. In the simpler analysis, the rate of all crashes was 18 percent lower for vehicles equipped with the feature, and the rate of injury crashes was 24 percent lower.

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

Read the complete press release from IIHS.

* (see “Crashes avoided: Front crash prevention slashes police-reported rear-end crashes,” Jan. 28, 2016, and “Rearview cameras reduce police-reported backing crashes,” Nov. 17, 2016)

Source: Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS)

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