Are Vehicles Actually Any Safer?

Newer cars are becoming safer each year, and vehicle safety has changed dramatically over the years. Newer vehicles are being built to be better and have more safety features enabled. Cars are being equipped with Advanced Driver-Assistance Systems (ADAS). ADAS change the driving experience and can make driving safer. 

What is an Advanced Driver-Assistance System?

ADAS are intended to increase driver safety and can include any of the following features:

  • Adaptive cruise control
  • Automatic Emergency Braking
  • Blind spot detection
  • Collision warning
  • Cross-traffic alert
  • Forward and rear collision warning
  • Lane departure warning
  • Pedestrian detection system
  • Road sign recognition

According to Chubb Personal Risk Services’ division president, these devices provide important safety features that can help prevent accidents. Volvo, for example, has a radar-based rear collision warning system where if there is a risk of collision the car warns the driver and applies the brakes. 

How Advanced Driver-Assistance Systems Work

Cars with ADAS are equipped with camera based sensors. The vehicle would have cameras on the top, front, back, and sides of the car to capture images of the surroundings. These images are analyzed and used to promote safe driving. The car could initiate emergency braking, alert the driver to lane drifting, and even help the driver park the car.

Are Cars Safer with These Systems?

Studies have shown that cars with advanced safety features are, in fact, safer. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety found that vehicles with blind-spot monitoring have crash involvement rates that are 14% lower than the same models without the equipment. This same study predicted that multiple crashes and injuries could have been prevented if more vehicles were equipped with blind-spot monitoring.

Although ADAS should help reduce car accidents, the system is still a work in progress. These systems can occasionally misread the data they are receiving from the cameras. However, despite not being perfect they are helping keep drivers safer. These systems are also important features for professional drivers as they can reduce potential damages. For professional drivers spending more on a car equipped with ADAS can minimize their potential future liability. “Although these systems are not perfect, they can help keep drivers safer,” said Attorney Joe Kopfler of Kopfler and Hermann, Attorneys at Law. “To get the most use out of these features, however, you have to actually use them. Many will turn off certain features such as forward collision warnings and automated emergency braking.”

How Car Insurance Is Affected

Unfortunately there are implications regarding car insurance when cars are equipped with advanced technology. While these cars are arguably safer, they can raise insurance costs and the cost of the car and repairs increase. Insurance companies have concluded that there is not enough data to determine if cars with advanced technology are actually safer. 

Vehicles with ADAS are not only more expensive but also have higher maintenance costs and have more complex maintenance repairs. This means that auto insurance companies pay out more when there are claims. It seems unlikely, at this time, that insurance companies will offer lower rates for vehicles equipped with advanced safety systems.

The Bottom Line

Overall, studies have shown that vehicles are actually safer now. If a driver is able to afford to equip their cars with these systems, they should. However, drivers should not anticipate any insurance discounts for driving a car with advanced safety systems.