Lane departure warning and blind spot detection systems can significantly prevent crashes if consumers use the features, according to two new studies by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
Single-vehicle, sideswipe and head-on crashes are reduced 11 percent if the vehicle is outfitted with lane departure warning systems, IIHS found. The rate of injury-inducing crashes decreases 21 percent with the technology.
The lane departure warning study included crashed General Motors, Honda, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz, Subaru and Volvo vehicles produced between 2009 and 2015. The study looked at vehicle identification numbers to ensure the crashed vehicles were outfitted with the technology.
The study controlled for driver age, gender, insurance risk level and other factors that could affect crash rates. A simpler analysis that didn't account for driver demographics found that lane departure warning cut the fatal crash rate 86 percent. Also in the simpler analysis, the rate of all crashes dropped 18 percent for vehicles equipped with the feature, and the rate of injury crashes slid 24 percent.
Jessica Cicchino, IIHS vice president for research, conducts the studies using data from police reports, isolating specific types of vehicular crashes through evaluating the circumstances that caused them. A previous study she conducted found that front crash prevention with autobrake halves the rate of front-to-rear crashes, and rearview cameras can prevent about one in six backing crashes.
"This is the first evidence that lane departure warning is working to prevent crashes of passenger vehicles on U.S. roads," Cicchino said in a statement. "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."