Legislation and tech aim to reduce vehicle crashes

Four pieces of legislation recently introduced in the U.S. Senate are designed to improve traffic safety. The first bill is written to make motor vehicle recalls quicker and more effective.

The second bill (the Early Warning Reporting Systems Improvement Act) will require auto manufacturers to make more information about motor vehicle crashes, injuries and fatalities available to the public.

The third bill will require manufacturers to improve seats in vehicles in order to reduce the injuries and fatalities in crashes due to seat failure.

Understanding SAFE and ADAS

The fourth traffic safety proposal – the Stay Aware for Everyone (SAFE) Act – aims to determine to what degree advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS) encourage complacency in drivers. After that has been determined by researchers, the bill directs the federal Department of Transportation to then require the installation of driver-monitoring systems to help prevent automation complacency, as well as distracted driving and driver disengagement.

If you walk onto the showroom floor of an Encinitas or Southern California auto dealership, you’ll be shown vehicles equipped with ADAS that include automatic rear braking, forward collision warning with auto braking, lane-keeping assistance, blind-spot warning, adaptive cruise control and more.

Diving into the data

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and Highway Loss Data Institute studied the effect of ADAS technologies by comparing crash rates and insurance claims for vehicles with ADA and vehicles without.

They found that forward collision warning systems reduced front-to-rear crashes by 27 percent; front-to-rear crashes with injuries by 20 percent; insurance claims for damage to other vehicles by 9 percent; and insurance claims for injuries to people in other vehicles by 17 percent.

They found that forward collision warning with auto brake cut front-to-rear crashes by 50 percent; front-to-rear crashes with injuries by 56 percent; the number of insurance claims for damage to other vehicles by 14 percent; and reduced the number of insurance claims for injuries to people in other vehicles by 24 percent.

Lane departure and braking

The two organizations found that lane departure warnings helped reduce single-vehicle, sideswipe and head-on crashes by 11 percent.

The analysis of data by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and Highway Loss Data Institute also found that rear automatic braking combined with rearview camera and parking sensors cut braking crashes by 78 percent and decreased the number of insurance claims for damage to other vehicles by 28 percent.

Because auto manufacturers have found that safety features help sell vehicles, it’s certain that the technologies will continue to improve and evolve, making those statistics even more impressive.