Study Suggests Certain Vehicle Safety Features Mean Fewer Car Accidents

Is your car helping you avoid car accidents? If it is a newer model of certain manufacturers it may be.

According to a recent study by the Highway Loss Data Institute (part of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety), vehicles with forward collision warning systems have lower reported instances of insurance claims. This means that the Acura and Mercedes vehicles equipped with the automatic braking system were in fewer car accidents – especially when it came to rear-end collisions.

The study also found that vehicles with adaptive headlights had fewer insurance claims than similar vehicles without the automatically twisting headlights (casting light in the direction of a turn); Implying, once again, that certain Volvo and Mazda models are less likely to be in an auto accident.

That’s the good news. But it appears that all safety features are not equal. In fact, the results of the study suggest that cars with lane departure warning technology actually may be more likely to be in a car accident. Research suggests that this may be because many drivers turn the technology off after receiving too many false alarms.

Authors of the study note that while it appears vehicles with adaptive headlights, collision avoidance systems and lane departure warnings are helping to prevent injuries and traffic fatalities, there is not enough data available to draw absolute collisions. These findings have been characterized as preliminary, and the IIHS and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration plan to continue examining the effect such vehicle features have on car accidents.

Source: Wall Street Journal, “Crash-Warning Equipment Cuts Auto Claims,” 7/3/12.