By Lisa Johnston on Jul 11 2012 - 5:04pm


Car Safety Given Mixed Marks

More technology doesn’t always mean better technology, as data from the Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI) purports. Although such car safety tech as forward collision-avoidance systems and adaptive headlights showed improvements, lane-departure warning systems were given low marks and blind-spot detection and parking assistance were pretty much a wash. The data was culled from the number of insurance claims that were filed.

Some findings:

Forward collision-avoidance systems with autonomous braking systems had lower crash rates than those without the braking systems.

Adaptive headlights showed benefits in multiple crash-type settings, although the researchers were unsure as to why.

Rather than preventing crashes as hoped, lane-departure warnings actually increased claim rates in the Buick and Mercedes cars examined.  Matt Moore, VP of HLDI, said: “Lane departure warning may end up saving lives down the road, but so far these particular versions aren’t preventing insurance claims. 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.”

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