Are collision avoidance systems, automatic braking and adaptive headlights worth their extra cost? A study by the Highway Loss Data Institute says yes.

Those three new automotive technologies seem to reduce crashes. Matt Moore, VP of HLDI says, "So far, forward collision technology is reducing claims, particularly for damage to other vehicles, and adaptive headlights are having an even bigger impact than we had anticipated."

The study "how each feature affected claim frequency under a variety of insurance coverages for damage and injuries." The analysts says their data indicates that avoidance systems offered on Acura and Mercedes-Benz lowered property damage liability (PDL) claims by 14 percent. Volvo models equipped with similar equipment saw a 10-percent improvement.

Volvo's numbers, however, may have been skewed by the fact their system is bundled with lane departure and fatigue warning devices. The study surprisingly showed that lane departure alert systems seemed to actually increase crash claims.

"Lane departure warning may end up saving lives down the road, but so far, these particular versions aren't preventing insurance claims," Moore says. "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."

The HLDI is a non-profit affiliate of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

See video below for more information from David Zuby, chief research officer with IIHS.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 12 Comments
      Walt
      • 2 Years Ago
      All these safety systems are making cars much safer and leading to lower claims for insurance companies. Great, but why aren't my insurance premiums dropping with each new techno-wizzbang safety advance?
        icon149
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Walt
        cause your cars are getting more expensive, more expensive to repair, and more likely to be totalled for things that used to be repairable back when it was just sheetmetal. oh yeah, and cause it's a business designed to take in as much of your money as possible and give back as little. mostly this last part.
        rllama
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Walt
        because the other part of the Insurance equation is the likely cost of the damage caused by your accident. If the probability of accidents goes down 10% do to safety devices, but the cost to fix the damage goes up by 15% (because now you've broken your expensive safety devices - or someone else's), you're not winning on the insurance premium side.
        GasMan
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Walt
        Maybe premiums are lower if you have a vehicle that is so-equipped. Or maybe the big bad insurance company is pocketing the difference and raising their CEO bonus. I wonder which is more likely...
        CanIGetAWhatWhat
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Walt
        Does your vehicle have those safety features? If not, according to an IIHS report, new safety features take about 30 years to reach 95% of the vehicles on the road, so that could be why.
        Walt
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Walt
        So I'll get a huge discount if I have every safety feature currently on the market? I think not. And if it takes years for all cars to be equipped with such features, that still means that some cares on the road ARE equipped with the latest gizmos and therefore the insurance companies ARE saving some money on claims costs which means they SHOULD be passing at least SOME of those savings on to consumers. I mean vehicles cost more to be equipped with the latest Insurance Industry mandate, the offset should be lower insurance costs for everyone.
          Rich M
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Walt
          Everyone? If you don't have the crash avoidance tech, then you are still a higher risk and should be charged more.
      Joe
      • 2 Years Ago
      The two best crash avoidance systems in the industry to me are the two most basic, situational awareness.. provided by those things we call eyeballs.. Ya know those things that people should (but not enough) use to pay attention to the road.. and sharp reflexes.. I avoided HUNDREDS of accidents with just those two things...
      mapoftazifosho
      • 2 Years Ago
      I think the biggest thing is the adoption of stability and traction control systems. These are now sold on every new car and has reduced single-vehicle accidents immensely.
      clquake
      • 2 Years Ago
      Two words: Driver's Education
      • 2 Years Ago
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      • 2 Years Ago
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