In the automotive world, additional safety features have usually led to fewer accidents. New technologies are good news for both the insurance industry and for drivers.
In the past decade, our cars and trucks have been equipped with so much technology that the console of my car now looks like something from a Star Wars movie. My car has multiple cameras, air bags in every part of the interior, impact sensors, special braking and collision avoidance systems. I have spent hours reading my owner’s manual and I still don’t know half of what my car is supposed to be able to do to make me feel safer.
Now I find that the Travelers Insurance Company recently reported that research funded by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has determined the benefits of all of this technology has yet to be proven.
Does Car Technology Lead To Fewer Accidents?
Take Lane Departure Warning Systems, for example. This technology is designed to eliminate the blind spot for drivers changing lanes and to prevent potential collisions from happening. The obvious danger here is that some drivers will no longer feel the need to actually look to check their blind spot and will depend completely on the technology, technology which the insurance industry says need improvement before they can recognize its value.
Then we can look at Forward Collision Avoidance Systems, which are designed to let the driver know that they are too close the vehicle ahead of them are about to have a collision. This technology may give drivers a false sense of security and lead them to take their eyes away from where they should be… on the road!
Car Technology Advancements
I know that we are still years away from self driving cars, but prototypes have been created that can reach speeds of 25 miles per hour and these vehicles have sensors that allow the vehicle to see roughly 600 feet in all directions. In my mind, I think that existing technologies with existing drivers needs to be proven to result in fewer accidents themselves, before we share the road with self driving vehicles.
Another Car Technology
And one more thing to consider with all this new technology is the cost of replacing and repairing this technology when it has been damaged in a collision. For insurance rates go down, the cost of the average repair needs to go down as well. This is not going to happen when a single sensor costs more than replacing an entire bumper or side door.
The bottom line for drivers is that whatever technology their car may be equipped with, there is no replacement for drivers themselves, when it comes to having fewer accidents on the road.
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